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Will Rory McIlroy or Tiger Woods Win the FedEx Cup and the Tour Championship

Rory McIlroy wore red on Saturday and has a good chance to win both the Tour Championship and the FedExCup.
Rory McIlroy wore red on Saturday and has a good chance to win both the Tour Championship and the FedExCup.Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Kathy BissellCorrespondent ISeptember 22, 2012

There are two trophies at stake Sunday,  the Tour Championship title and the FedEx Cup $10 million prize. After three rounds of play, the chances of two players who are in the top five in points, Phil Mickelson and Nick Watney, is nearly zero for winning either. 

However, Brandt Snedeker, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are still in the running for both titles. The winner of the Tour Championship affects who wins the FedEx Cup. 

Rather than sitting through mind-numbing addition and subtraction for the top 15 players, let’s go with the scenarios that have already been figured out for us. Just consider this your FedEx Cup Cheat Sheet. 

As someone finishes in a position below his best case scenario, cross him off the $10 million list.   Mickelson and Watney are already out of it. Cross them off or do as we did and put a X by their names.

Going down the leaderboard, to win the FedEx Cup:

 

Snedeker must

—win the Tour Championship.

—or can finish as low as a two-way tie for second and still have a mathematical chance of winning.

Justin Rose must win the Tour Championship, and

—Rory McIlroy must finish 17th or worse

—Tiger Woods must finish in a 3-way tie for 5th or worse

—Nick Watney must finish in a 3-way tie for 3rd or worse X

—Phil Mickelson must finish T-3 or worse X

—Brandt Snedeker  must finish in a 3-way tie for 2nd or worse

—Louis Oosthuizen must finish T-2 or worse X

 

Ryan Moore must win the Tour Championship, and

—Rory McIlroy must finish 25th or worse

—Tiger Woods must finish T-6 or worse

—Nick Watney must finish T-4 or worse X

—Phil Mickelson must finish T-3 or worse X

—Brandt Snedeker must finish in a three-way tie for second or worse

—Louis Oosthuizen must finish T-2 or worse X

 

McIlroy wins the FedEx Cup

—if he wins the TOUR Championship

—and has a reasonable chance of winning with a top-five finish

—and can finish as low as 29th and still have a mathematical chance of winning

 

Bubba Watson must win the Tour Championship, and

—Rory McIlroy must finish T-6 or worse

—Tiger Woods must finish T-2 or worse

—Nick Watney must finish T-3 or worse X

—Phil Mickelson must finish in a three-way tie for second or worse X

—Brandt Snedeker must finish T-2 or worse.

Jim Furyk must win the Tour Championship, and

—Rory McIlroy must finish T11 or worse

-- Tiger Woods must finish fifth or worse

-- Nick Watney must finish in a three-way tie for third or worse  X

-- Phil Mickelson must finish third or worse X

-- Brandt Snedeker must finish in a three-way tie for second or worse

 

Woods must win the Tour Championship, and  

—has a reasonable chance of winning with a top-three finish

—can finish as low as a five-way tie for fifth and still have a mathematical chance of winning

 

Zach Johnson must win the Tour Championship, and

—Rory McIlroy must finish in a six-way tie for second or worse

—Tiger Woods must finish third or worse

—Nick Watney must finish T-2 or worse X

—Phil Mickelson must finish second or worse X

Now, who will win the Tour Championship? 

Realistically, because of the quality of the names at the top of the leaderboard, it is most likely that no one beyond -4 will win the Tour Championship. To refresh everyone’s memory the leaders are:

1. Brandt Snedeker—202

    Justin Rose

3. Ryan Moore—204

4. Rory McIlroy—205

    Bubba Watson

    Jim Furyk

7. Tiger Woods—206

    Robert Garrigus

    Bo Van Pelt

Luke Donald and Zach Johnson are one more back at 207. A truck would have to hit a couple guys for either of them to pass the 10 guys in front of them and win the Tour Championship. Never say never, but it is remote on the probability scale. 

Looking at fourth-round scoring averages of all 10 players, not very surprisingly, with 69.45, Rory McIlroy is the lowest in final round averages. Luke Donald actually is a couple tenths lower, but a couple tenths is not going to help him when he needs six shots on a course with only two par fives.  

Justin Rose is next, followed by Bubba Watson. They all have a final-round average that begins with 69. Everyone else begins with 70, and Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk are actually tied with 70.29 strokes. The highest of the group is Ryan Moore with an average of 72.50.  

What that means is if you had to pick a name out of this group to have a good final round, Rory McIlroy should be your guy. You should forget about Ryan Moore. 

The thing about golf though, is it never really pays attention to the stats at any one given tournament.  Tiger Woods has won here. So has Jim Furyk although like Tiger Woods, he has not performed as well this year in several final rounds. Who has? Brandt Snedeker, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson and Justin Rose. All are 2012 winners.

Could Robert Garrigus or Bo Van Pelt jump up and win? It is certainly possible, but with the quality of players ahead of them, it is unlikely. The winner will probably be one of six: Brandt Snedeker, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods or Jim Furyk, if doesn’t repeat errors like he made at the 17th on Saturday. 

And, finally, their order of the finish will determine the winner of the FedEx Cup.

So, if you are still confused by the scoring, don’t feel alone. Just print the list and check off guys as possibilities are eliminated.

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