FedEx Cup Standings 2012: Why Tiger Woods Needs 1st Place More Than Rory McIlroy

Mike MoraitisAnalyst ISeptember 7, 2012

CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 07:  Tiger Woods catches a ball on the fifth hole green during the second round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 7, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Warren Little/Getty Images

While both Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are in the top three of the FedEx Cup standings at this point in the season, it's clear that Woods needs a first place finish much more than McIlroy.

McIlroy has yet to claim a victory in the FedEx Cup standings during his young career, but he certainly doesn't need a first place finish to make it certain that he is the best golfer in the world.

The 23-year-old has already won three events this season: one of them, his victory at the PGA Championship, a major. As of late, McIlroy has been on fire, having won two of his last three events.

On top of his victories, McIlroy has eight top 10 finishes and nine in the top 25. He's finished in second twice and placed in third once while only missing three cuts in 2012. There's no doubt that in each and every tournament McIlroy is a major player to win.

To continue his success, McIlroy is currently tied for second at the BMW Championship and has an opportunity to win his second event in-a-row and fourth of the year.

Woods is on a much different path.

Doubts about his elite place in the sport have only grown by the day, as he has yet to win a major since off-the-course issues threw his life into a tail spin.

Yes, Woods has won three tournaments this year and has placed in the top 10 seven times while only missing two cuts, but even impressive numbers like that aren't helping Woods' case.

Instead, it looks as though Woods isn't as good as he once was, continuously starting tournaments strong only to flounder in the closing days of major events.

Taking the FedEx Cup would help re-solidify Woods as one of the top golfers on the planet. He is still very much in that discussion anyway, but a first-place finish would show that Woods' 2012 season wasn't all that disappointing after all.

Without a major to his credit this season and no more left to play, the only thing that can catapult Tiger to the top of the sport once again is an improbable first-place finish in the FedEx Cup.