2014 FedEx Cup

FedEx Cup 2014: 10 Bold Predictions for This Year's Event

Ben AlberstadtFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2014

FedEx Cup 2014: 10 Bold Predictions for This Year's Event

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Who's going to raise the FedEx Cup in 2014? With the playoffs about to begin with The Barclays, we're getting closer to an answer to that question. 

    Last year's champion, Henrik Stenson, won two of the four playoff events (including the Tour Championship). Does the Swede, who played so well at Valhalla, have another playoff victory in him this year? 

    In every edition of the FedEx Cup playoffs thus far, we've seen big names who don't make it to the Tour Championship. Who's going to end their season at The Barclays or the Deutsche Bank Championship?

    And of course, no list of bold predictions would be complete without a few Rory McIlroy-related prognostications. 

    We'll answer the questions above and let you know what the playoffs have in store for Boy Wonder.

    Click through for the predictions. 

     

    All stats via PGATour.com

Tiger Woods Won't Pick Up a Club During the Playoffs

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    Mel Evans/Associated Press

    Regarding his decision to remove himself from consideration for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, Tiger Woods told Sky Sports

    Physically, I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t be ready, and not being able to be there for my team-mates, the captain, assistant captain and everyone that’s involved in the event, I just wouldn’t be ready and I just couldn’t help the team.

    When your name is called you have to be able to go out there and get a point and I just didn’t feel like I could be ready enough to get a point. With that being said it was time to shut it down, get stronger, get more explosive again and get back for next year.

    Woods didn't qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs this year, so he was never going to be swinging a club at any of the four events. It seems he won't be swinging his Nike irons at his Jupiter Island home either as he's devoting all his energy to resting and recuperating. 

Tim Finchem Won't Elaborate on Dustin Johnson's Leave of Absence

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    Susan Walsh/Associated Press

    Speaking with the media prior to The Barclays this week, commissioner Tim Finchem addressed (sort of) Dustin Johnson's leave of absence.

    When asked to comment on the situation, he reiterated the tour's stonewall stance: “We understand his statement and...we support his decision to do it and we’ll have no further comment" (per Jim McCabe of Golfweek). 

    With the end of the season approaching, and one of the tour's brightest stars conspicuously absent from the event he won in 2011, Finchem is content to remain tight-lipped about the Johnson situation.

    Don't expect that to change during the playoffs or at the commissioner's "State of the Tour" address following the Tour Championship. 

Rory McIlroy Won't Win the Barclays

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    Warren Little/Getty Images

    The last time The Barclays was played at Ridgewood Country Club (2010), Rory McIlroy finished tied for 56th. Thus, the Ulsterman hasn't showed a tremendous aptitude for the A.W. Tillinghast design. 

    While it's tough to bet against a guy who has won two consecutive majors and three consecutive tournaments overall (and defeated Jimmy Fallon in a game of "Facebreakers"), McIlroy has to be due for something of a letdown this week. 

    When one factors in his jet-setting from New York City to the UK and back in the last week and the fact that he has little motivation to win the tournamentsince he's first in the FedEx Cup points standings and is guaranteed passage to the next event—it's tough to see McIlroy continuing his win streak. 

Rory McIlroy Will Win a Playoff Event

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Given his recent form, the odds of Rory McIlroy winning a playoff event are pretty good. And while he's not likely to win The Barclays, one merely has to look back to 2012 to see how well the Ulsterman can play in the season-ending series.

    That year, McIlroy tied for 24th at the Barclays, won the Deutsche Bank Championship, won the BMW Championship and tied for 10th at the Tour Championship. 

    The Deutsche Bank Championship (TPC Boston) and the Tour Championship (East Lake Golf Club) are both held at the same venues as the tournaments were in 2012, thus McIlroy is familiar with and has played well at both tracks. 

    Plus, he's the hottest golfer on the planet right now. So that helps too. 

Louis Oosthuizen and Ernie Els Won't Make It to the Deutsche Bank Championship

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Last year, Louis Oosthuizen didn't even make it into the FedEx Cup playoffs. Thus, inclusion in the field at The Barclays this year is a small victory for the South African.

    However, in order to make it into the top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings, and thus into the field at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Oosthuizen would need to finish 36th or better this week, according to the PGATour's projections. That doesn't seem likely given that he has just two finishes of 36th or better in his last six starts. 

    Ernie Els, too, will need a quality performance at Ridgewood CC. The veteran has to finish 68th or better at The Barclays in order to advance. Given his tie for 64th at the Wyndham Championship in his last start, it doesn't look like the Big Easy is going to continue the brilliant form he showed at the PGA Championship and make a playoff fun. 

     

Luke Donald and Ian Poulter Won't Make It to the Tour Championship

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    The field for the Tour Championship is composed of the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings following the BMW Championship. At 66th in the FedEx Cup standings, Luke Donald has some work to do over the next three tournaments to get into the top 30.

    Donald hasn't finished better than a tie for 38th in his last seven starts. He'll need to do much better this week and next to ensure he continues on to the Tour Championship. 

    In the same boat with his fellow countryman, Ian Poulter, at 78th in the FedEx Cup standings, needs a run of solid performances to make it to the Tour Championship. Given the PGA Tour's present projections, the Ryder Cup stalwart needs to finish 25th or better at the Deutsche Bank Championship next week. 

    In his last three starts, Poults hasn't finished better than a tie for 52nd. He'll need to do better to make it to the final playoff event. 

One Ryder Cup Captain's Pick Will Win a Playoff Event

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Assuming that Tom Watson goes with Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker as his captain's picks, one of them will win a playoff event. 

    All three players are highly motivated and rounding into form late in the year. 

    Keegan Bradley, although he missed the cut at the PGA Championship, has top-five finishes in two of his last four starts. Brandt Snedeker won the FedEx Cup in 2012 thanks to a victory at the Tour Championship. He's finished inside the top 15 in his last three starts. Hunter Mahan tied for seventh at the PGA Championship in his last start. 

    Look for one of the above to lift some silverware at one of the playoff events, given the added motivation. 

Nobody Will Complain About Not Having to Play Liberty National

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Adam Scott won The Barclays last year when the competition was held at the inglorious Liberty National Golf Club. 

    In Golf Digest's Geoff Shackelford's breakdown of the worst courses on tour, the scribe indicated anonymous tour pros said the following about Tom Kite's New Jersey golf course: "'Too crammed in. Have nothing good to say about it,' said one, while another said of the landfill-turned-course, 'They should have left it as a dump.'"

    The course underwent significant changes for last year's event. Still, it's unlikely you'll hear any pros at The Barclays pining for Liberty National from the lush confines of Ridgewood Country Club.

The FedEx Cup Champion Will Not Be a Former Winner

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Check out the past FedEx Cup winners:

    • 2007: Tiger Woods
    • 2008: Vijay Singh
    • 2009: Tiger Woods
    • 2010: Jim Furyk
    • 2011: Bill Haas
    • 2012: Brandt Snedeker
    • 2013: Henrik Stenson

    Tiger Woods, of course, didn't even make it to the playoffs, so he's not winning the cup. Vijay Singh is 88th in the FedEx Cup standings and has just one top-10 finish this year. Jim Furyk is fifth in the FedEx Cup standings but hasn't finished better than 14th in the standings since winning the FedEx Cup. 

    Bill Haas' tie for second at the Wyndham Championship was his only top-10 finish in his last six starts. Brandt Snedeker, at 55th in the FedEx Cup standings, will have difficulty even making it to the Tour Championship, and Henrik Stenson, at 70th in the standings, will need a win to vault up the standings and strong play across the other playoff events.

    All of the above seems unlikely, especially considering what the guy in the next slide has been up to lately. 

Rory McIlroy Will Win the FedEx Cup

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    David Cannon/Getty Images

    As John O'Sullivan of the Irish Times indicated, world No. 1 Rory McIlroy said the following shortly after his PGA Championship win:

    I think first and foremost, my priority is the FedExCup. I came close a couple of years ago but didn’t quite get the job done. I feel like my game’s in good enough shape that I can keep this run of golf going and try and win that.

    As anyone who has any idea what's been going on in the world of golf for the past couple of months is aware, the 25-year-old's game is indeed in "good enough shape": McIlroy has won his last three starts (The Open Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship). 

    Further, he's presently first in the FedEx Cup standings and is thus first in line for the cup at the moment. Further, he's motivated to win the thing as his statement above indicates.

    McIlroy knows Tiger Woods has won the FedEx Cup twice in its seven-year history. While he often plays the "Aw, shucks, I can't believe I've won so many majors" card, you know the world No. 1 measures himself against the longest-reigning No. 1 in golf history. It's for this reason, too, that McIlroy will want to be the one shaking commissioner Finchem's hand and raising the FedEx Cup on September 14th. 

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