Can Tiger Woods Still Win the Fed-Ex Cup?

Kathy BissellCorrespondent ISeptember 5, 2010

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Phil Mickelson (L), winner of THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola poses alongside Tiger Woods, winner of the 2009 FedExCup at East Lake Golf Club on September 27, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

This week, for Tiger Woods, it’s all about moving up the points list.  At the start of the Deutsch Bank he had 734 points total.  After two rounds, he was projected to finish with 929 points.  But points are not awarded after two rounds.  Woods still has two days to climb farther up the ladder to see how high he can get.

Despite the importance of the points, priority number one this week is being in the top 70 on the list so that he can advance to the BMW Championship next week.  Right now, he’s in 65th place.  

If Woods maintained the status quo, he would get to Chicago.  However, there are 35 guys trying to make sure that they get there instead.  That means it is sure to be a nerve jangling final round on Monday to see who advances and who stays home to watch college football, clean out the garage, paint the guest room, etc.       

While it is a good bet that Woods will make the BMW, does he still have any shot at all to win the Fed Ex Cup? The whole thing.  Another $10 million.  

A victory this week would boost him to 3234 points and he’d surely be in the top five headed to Chicago.  But he may not need to win this week to win the Fed Ex Cup. 

Because of the way the points are stacked—great reward for top finishers in the first three weeks of the playoffs—Woods simply needs to advance with enough points to get himself into the top 15 after the BMW Championship.  That’s because after the first three weeks of the Playoffs, all the points are thrown out and there is a whole new point reset.  

After the BMW, the points leader gets 2,500 points. Second place gets 1,500.  Third, 1,000, and so on to the 30th place, which has 205 points. 

The Tour stats people say that anyone from sixth to 15th has a chance to win if they win the Tour Championship, depending on where everyone else finishes. However, any one of the top five have can win outright with a victory.   

Because of the points system, the Tour Championship winner may not be the Fed-Ex Cup winner.  Last year, Phil Mickelson won the Tour Championship, but Tiger Woods won the Fed-Ex Cup. It’s one time where two guys can be happy on the final day of a tournament.   

Even if Woods finishes in 30th place, if the leader in points finishes last, they could tie for the Fed-Ex Cup.  The top guys would have to finish in at the bottom for that to happen, however.  No one has mentioned a plan for that case.  A playoff for winner take all $10 million?  Wouldn’t that be something to watch.

The odds of Woods starting at 30th and winning with the top player finishing last and the next four finishing near last are best calculated by someone currently in a statistics class (those formulas are now in some dark recesses of my brain matter and will most likely never see the light of day again). 

The odds of a tie happening are probably the same as Tiger Woods winning Powerball (did someone say they saw him asking for a quick pick at the 7/11?).

If Woods finishes the BMW in 15th, and wins the Tour Championship, he could win the Fed-Ex Cup, but he would still need help from the top players. All the players ahead of him would have to finish 16th or worse.

If Woods is in 10th place going into the Tour Championship, he would win the Fed-Ex Cup with a victory.  But the nine players ahead of him would have to finish worse than 10th. 

However, if Woods is in the top five heading into the Tour Championship and wins the event, he would win the Fed-Ex Cup, no matter what any other player in the field did at the tournament.

So strange as it seems, Tiger Woods, who entered the playoffs in 112th place, could actually win the Fed-Ex Cup and the $10 million having played in 13 tournaments, nine of them PGA Tour events, with one WD (Players, neck problem) and one missed cut (Quail Hollow).     


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