A riveting major season has given way to several exciting competitions thus far on the FedEx Cup schedule. With the BMW Championship getting underway on Thursday, the tournaments are winding down with a champion set to be crowned soon.
After Chris Kirk's win at the Deutsche Bank Championship, he has skyrocketed into the No. 1 position. But with Rory McIlroy, Hunter Mahan and Jimmy Walker just behind him, no lead is too comfortable.
With a $10 million purse handed out to the eventual winner, expect the action to heat up at Cherry Hills Country Club. Ahead of the Tour Championship in Atlanta, just two weeks remain for contenders to clinch the massive money distribution.
As the penultimate tournament gets underway in Englewood, Colorado, here's a look at the purse, bonus payouts and top contenders for the 2014 FedEx Cup.
|2014 FedEx Cup Purse and Bonus Money Distribution|
|2014 FedEx Cup Standings|
He's the No. 1 golfer in the world, so it's not a stretch to say McIlroy is one of the top contenders.
Equipped with two major wins this season, the Northern Irish golfer thrust himself near the top of the leaderboard. And even with players like Kirk and Mahan rising to the occasion, McIlroy remains the No. 2 player on the board.
Heading into the BMW Championship, McIlroy spoke candidly about his thoughts heading down the stretch, per Paul Higham of Sky Sports:
It’s been such a great year on the golf course that if I wasn’t to go ahead and win the FedEx Cup it would definitely be disappointing.
I really want to cap off this summer as best as I can and I’ve got two more weeks to push through, even though I am feeling a little tired I’m trying to conserve as much energy as possible.
Those comments seem fitting for McIlroy. After all, he's won just about everything including a three-tournament win streak earlier in the summer.
As for what to expect from McIlroy this weekend, the 25-year-old has apparently been driving the ball well in Englewood. Randall Mell of the Golf Channel shared McIlroy's comments on the environment:
Randall Mell @RandallMellGC
Rory McIlroy said he hit a tee shot 370 yards with a 3-wood in today's pro-am at Cherry Hills. Mile-high fun2014-9-3 17:56:00
With pretty hefty purses already secured thanks to the two major victories, grabbing a lofty $10 million would be an emphatic close. Thanks to his powerful ball-striking ability, McIlroy looks like a favorite yet again in Colorado.
Seen as the favorite to take the FedEx Cup this season, according to Oddsshark.com, McIlroy remains a solid pick to win it all. If he can clinch another victory or top-five finish at the BMW Championship, look for his name to remain in contention ahead of the final tournament.
One win—that's all it took to push Kirk to the top of the standings for the FedEx Cup. If he puts himself firmly in contention again in Colorado, Kirk secures his spot for another week.
While McIlroy is breathing down his neck, Kirk proved he wasn't fazed by that pressure at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Jason Sobel of the Golf Channel noted Kirk's performance during the final rounds in Boston:
Jason Sobel @JasonSobelESPN
Always think playing partners are overrated and overanalyzed. That said, Chris Kirk posting 64-66 in front of Rory McIlroy is pretty clutch.2014-9-1 21:58:37
Earning the win last weekend helped give Kirk some optimism moving forward. But he might also play inspired after being overlooked by Tom Watson for a spot with the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Though it might have been a slight snub, Keegan Bradley noted Kirk has a bright future, via Mell:
Randall Mell @RandallMellGC
Keegan Bradley on Chris Kirk being left off RC team: "I feel for him a lot...He's going to be on tons of teams.He could be on the next five"2014-9-3 16:45:51
Much like Mahan the previous week, all it took was one victory to turn Kirk into a contender. But with his talent shown on the course in Boston, repeating that great play has a chance to turn him into a favorite moving forward.
Coming in as the top player in the standings at Englewood, remaining consistent will be important. If he can hold off a hard-charging McIlroy and Walker, it's going to be an interesting couple of weeks for Kirk.
Currently, Jimmy Walker sits at fourth on the FedEx Cup standings. But thanks to his play throughout the season, he remains one of the top contenders for the crown.
Walker has remained a consistent force at the Deutsche Bank Championship by earning another top-10 result. That marked his seventh such finish, including two victories from earlier in the season.
After being in the running in both the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, Walker has a chance to win in either of the last two tournaments. His numbers have fallen off since the start of the season, but remaining near the top five will be crucial.
If one of the top players falls off, Walker will be one to watch. With his name near the top of the leaderboard, look for the veteran to remain in the chase throughout the next two weeks.
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