From the PGA Tour: Fedex Cup sets up for $10 million grand finale
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On September 23rd one man will walk away with the Fedex Cup and its awesome US$10 million windfall.
What we can also be certain of is that the Tour Championship will determine his path to glory. The PGA Tour’s crowning event returns to East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta beginning Thursday. Only 30 survivors of the grueling year-long Fedex Cup expedition will vie for the prize.
What’s even more exciting is that 3 of the top 5 point winners include the current world number one, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods who needs no introduction and the sensational American veteran Phil Mickelson.
McIlroy cemented his place on top of the Fedex Cup points race by winning the last two events, the Deutsche Bank Championship and the BMW Championship. He’s dominated the field of 30 at just 23 years of age.
“I don’t think I’m quite there yet, but I’m getting to that stage where I’m thinking, this is what I should be doing. I should be lifting a trophy at the end of the week,” said Rory when asked about his incredible run.
He’s obviously lifted more than one trophy of late. Rounding out the top five spots will be America’s Nick Watney and Brandt Snedeker, the Tour’s best putter.
On route to Atlanta, McIlroy won the BMW Championship by two strokes and then squeezed out a one shot victory over South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Undoubtedly the hottest player on the planet, the young Irishman is the only four event winner in 2012. Red hot, he’s captured three of the last four events he’s played including the PGA Championship on Aug. 12th.
There’s no doubt that the mop-topped young phenomenon is focused on the 10 million bucks.
“There’s a time and a place to celebrate and to enjoy what you’ve done, and going into the Playoffs isn’t it. You have to just focus on the week ahead.”
Asked to comment on the opposition McIlroy said, “So you’ve got all these top guys with a chance to win going into Atlanta. It’s what it’s all about, and it makes it exciting for the end of the year.”
The top five players control their own destiny. A win bags any of them the Cup and its $10 million bundle.
Tiger Woods has not only won the Fedex Cup in the past, he’s won it twice, most recently in 2009.
Woods last won the Cup in 2009, by points with Mickelson winning the Tour Championship. Mickelson was ranked well outside the top fivegoing into the Championship that year.
Woods was asked about his performance after the BMW Championship to which he commented: “It’s getting better. It’s getting better. I just need to have that one little stretch of holes, I guess I’ve got to fight through that.”
Woods has been close in the last two events, finishing third and fourth respectively. If he can somehow find his putting stroke he’ll be the man to beat at East Lake.
Mickleson feels great about his game which is peaking at the right time. He finished fourth at the Deutsche Bank, was runner up at the BMW and is in fourth spot. Confident Mickelson articulated his task. “It puts me in a position where if I can improve just a little bit more for the Championship and win, I’ll win the FedEx Cup.”
Watney, who captured the first Fedex playoff event, the Barclays Championship, appears ready for the challenge. “Yeah, I’m very excited for the end of this playoff session. Yeah, after this year, I couldn’t ask for a better place to be.”
Snedeker is the least heralded player of the top five. If he keeps rolling the ball like he has on the greens he could be holding both the Tour Championship and Fedex Cup trophies on Sunday. Brandt’s been to East Lake twice before and he’s looking to cap off his third visit with a $10 million charm.
All 25 of the remaining contenders have a mathematical chance of winning the Fedex Cup. Players ranked below 10th though will need a lot of luck. They would be well advised to seek counsel from last year’s Fedex Cup winner Bill Haas who arrived at East Lake ranked a distant 25th.