FedEx Cup Playoffs 2012: Previewing Tiger Woods vs. Rory McIlroy Clash

Daniel ZhuContributor ISeptember 17, 2012

CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 06:  (L-R) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Tiger Woods wait on the fifth tee during the first round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 6, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The final leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs are here, and the top players in the points standings have their eyes on that crystal trophy and the $10 million.

This grand finale seems to be shaping up to be an ultimate clash between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, currently the two best golfers on the planet.

Rory and Tiger are one and two on the points list respectively, and either of them can take home the grand prize with a win at the Tour Championship.

McIlroy won the Deutsche Bank and the BMW Championship, so he is undeniably the favorite heading into East Lake.

Woods, on the other hand, has two top-five finishes in the previous two playoff events, and he's lurking behind McIlroy.

Both are playing some of the best golf we have ever seen, but let's analyze the different parts of their game to see who really has the edge.


In the driving category, McIlroy trumps Woods in distance, but McIlroy's extra ten yards costs him some accuracy. McIlroy is sixth for driving distance, averaging at about 310 yards, but is 142nd when it comes to driving accuracy. Tiger, on the other hand, is 34th in driving distance, and 45th in driving accuracy, hitting 10 percent more fairways that McIlroy.


Edge: Tiger Woods


Iron Play

Rory McIlroy is arguably one of the best iron players around. He's ranked 41st in greens hit in regulation, which is pretty mediocre for a someone who is so talented. However, based on McIlroy's iron play the last two weeks, it's obvious he can knock it stiff every time.

Tiger Woods is ranked 17th in greens hit in regulation. Woods' irons seem to be the clubs that he can control and hit the best. His consistent iron play these past few weeks seem to reflect the Tiger Woods of old. He does have the occasional problem of controlling his distances with the wedges, which could be a problem.

Edge: Tiger Woods


Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are both great putters, but, based on their performances this past month, it's undeniable that McIlroy is better with the flat stick. Tiger misses to many short putts, something that was a kick in for him in the old days. McIlroy is much more consistent, and makes more putts from short range than Woods. The only advantage Woods has is putting from 20- to 25-feet, where he is ranked seventh. Otherwise McIlroy has the advantage.

Edge: Rory McIlroy

Winner: Tiger Woods