All it takes is one tournament to completely shake up the FedEx Cup standings when playoff time comes, and that was the case after Monday's finish at the 2014 Deutsche Bank Championship.
As for the one doing the shaking up, well, that was Chris Kirk. The American finished 15 strokes under par, proving enough to hold off Billy Horschel on the final hole and claim the 2,500 points in the standings.
His second win of the season propelled him to the FedEx Cup points lead, but he has plenty of company atop the leaderboard as the world's top golfers approach the BMW Championship and Tour Championship.
Take a look at the updated FedEx Cup playoffs standings.
Note: Complete rankings can be found at PGATour.com.
Kirk is peaking at the right time.
After opening play at TPC Boston with a round of 73, he went on a three-day tear that will rank up there as some of the best golf played in 2014. He fired off rounds of 66, 64 and 66 to claim the Deutsche Bank title, taking a stranglehold over the FedEx Cup playoffs in the process.
Finishing a few spots outside of automatic Ryder Cup qualification and not generating much noise as a captain's pick prior to this weekend, Kirk may have earned himself a call from U.S. captain Tom Watson with the win.
ESPN Stats and Information noted his career success:
Chris Kirk: 3rd career PGA TOUR win and 2nd this season (won The McGladrey Classic last fall)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 1, 2014
As Jason Sobel of Golf Channel reported, Kirk was excited with the win:
Chris Kirk: "I may be a little bit more calm than some other guys in that situation, but I'm still pretty much freaking out inside."— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) September 1, 2014
Even Rory McIlroy congratulated the winner:
Boston you were awesome this week, disappointing way for me to end the tournament today but congrats @Chris_Kirk_ you deserved it!— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) September 1, 2014
As for McIlroy's performance throughout the weekend, well, his tweet sums it up quite well. This year's winner of the British Open and PGA Championship struggled to start the weekend, and despite improving to become a contender, he couldn't keep pace with Kirk.
McIlroy continues to trail in the FedEx Cup standings after failing to win, but he picked up 525 points from his fifth-place finish to keep him in second place.
But no spot in the standings is comfortable during the playoffs. Hunter Mahan learned that the hard way, barely making the cut and finishing in 64th place to fall to third place after winning at The Barclays.
Those top three—Kirk, McIlroy and Mahan—are a cut above the rest as the only golfers with more than 3,000 points entering the BMW Championship. But as many as 10 or 12 golfers are well within reach of taking an outright lead should they win the next tournament.
It remains to be seen whether three sleepers who had big weekends will emerge in the final two tournaments. Geoff Ogilvy, Horschel and Russell Henley were all afterthoughts before each amassed 1,083 with their second-place finishes, and now they could move into the lead by winning at the BMW Championship.
Although a few golfers have made a name for themselves and emerged as leaders, it's still virtually anyone's $10 million prize to win, and that's what makes the FedEx Cup thrilling until the final hole.