Tour Championship: Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen, Luke Donald and Geoff Ogilvy on Top

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Tour Championship: Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen, Luke Donald and Geoff Ogilvy on Top
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Kathy Bissell

East Lake GC -- Three US Open Champs, Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen and Geoff Ogilvy along with Luke Donald are vying for top prize at the Tour Championship. Any one of the four can win the $10 million top prize for the Fed Ex cup with a victory at East Lake.  All of them have to have help from other players, but to say the computations, permutations and scenarios are numerous is an understatement. All of them have to have help from other players.

Jim Furyk: Leading after three rounds. Must win outright to win the Fed Cup Cup and have  Matt Kuchar finish seventh of worse (23rd), Dustin Johnson finish fifth or worse (27th), Charley Hoffman finish fourth or worse ( 7th), Steve Stricker finish third or worse (12th), and Paul Casey finish third or worse ( fifth).  

Luke Donald:  Tied for second after three rounds. Must win outright, and Matt Kuchar must finish lower than sixth.  

Retief Goosen:  Tied for second. Must win and have Kuchar finish 11th of worse, Dustin Johnson finish fifth or worse ( now 27th), Charley Hoffman finish fourth of worse ( now seventh)and Steve Stricker, Paul Casey and Jason Day must be third or worse (12th, fifth, and ninth).

 

Geoff Ogilvy: In fourth place, three shots behind Furyk. Must win and have Matt Kuchar finish seventh of worse (23rd), Dustin Johnson finish fifth or worse (27th), Charley Hoffman finish fourth or worse ( 7th), Steve Stricker finish third or worse (12th), and Paul Casey finish third or worse ( fifth).  

In other words, nobody knows. You can get a brain cramp trying to figure it out moment to moment. One guy makes birdie or bogey and it changes everybody else’s position.

The Golf Channel even trotted out a guy with an erasable whiteboard and markers making adjustments as the round went on.  NBC and pgatour.com were more sophisticated with their updates, but no one has a clue how it will turn out. And that’s the kind of excitement the PGA Tour was hoping for when it created the Fed Ex Cup, although perhaps not quite for so much math.

As Ernie Els said earlier in the week. “ Well, they’ve definitely given us more to talk about.  I remember either the first or second year, when Vijay just had to keep breathing and he was going to win it.”

None of the leaders said they were going to calculate points before the start of the final round. 

 

“I’m not really thinking about the Fed Ex Cup. I want to try and win the tournament tomorrow and whatever happens behind me happens,”  Retief Goosen said. “ I was not anywhere near the top five what everybody was talking about.  So my goal was just to try and play well.”  Goosen won the Tour Championship at East Lake GC in 2004.  

“The first part of the scenario is I have to win, and the rest I can’t control, “ Jim Furyk said.  “I doubt that there’s a scenario where I can finish second or worse in the tournament and win the Fed Ex cup.” 

Oh there might be, but you’d get a headache trying to compute that.

Strange as it seems, after three days of hard, fast, firm conditions, a storm coming through Georgia  tonight may affect the outcome as much as anything else.  Tee times have been moved up to start at 9 am, and so the golf will be tape delayed if it concludes without weather delays. 

“I’ve seen some of the pins, and it looks like the PGA Tour have gone with the high spots on the golf course to keep us away from any possible flooding we might get with an inch of rain, “ Paul Casey said after his round.

The course installed SubAir when the Fed Ex Cup began.  It was playable the year Atlanta had floods.

 

“We’re going to have to go out in the morning and kind of take a look at the golf course, walk on the putting green, get an idea of how much it rains,” Furyk said.  “You’ll find out a lot on the first couple of holes.  How far is the drive rolling on number one.  Are the greens firmer? Soft? What’s the wind doing?  I think we’ll be able to get a good idea of what a good score might be after we play two, three, four holes.”

Round of the tournament: Nick Watney with a 63, and a course record 28 on the back nine.  “Nothing was really clicking early in the week. Not even early today,” he said. “I’m not sure who to credit.  Chad ( Watney’s caddie) read a lot of good putts out there, so I’ll credit him.” 

Watney changed his set up in the eighth fairway and decided let his caddie read the putts.

“I bumped my weight probably what felt like about 65 percent  on my front leg, and for whatever reason, I guess I was setting up too far back or something,” he explained. “I hadn’t made anything all week , so I just said Chad – he loves Bermuda grass—from now on you read them and tell me where to hit it, and he read them great.”

Quote of the week – Retief Goosen on how he broke his toe and finger earlier in the year: “ Well, first I kicked him, and then I hit him.”   The truth was much duller.  He accidentally kicked furniture with a toe and then tripped on the stairs while playing with his kids and caught his hand in the railing.

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