With the race to the top of the FedEx Cup standings and a $10 million payout incredibly close, the final week of the 2014-2015 PGA Tour season is shaping up to go right down to the wire. The list of possible outcomes goes on and on, and our friends at the Tour have already done the math to outline just who can win and how.
1. Jason Day
At No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings, it won't take much for the new World No. 1 to take it all home. If he wins this weekend's Tour Championship, he wins the FedEx Cup. He can also finish as low as 29th and still have a mathematical chance of winning.
2. Jordan Spieth
The 22-year-old has spent a few weeks flip-flopping from the top spot of both the FedEx Cup standings and the world rankings, and although he's got an excellent shot at taking home the big prize, it's not quite as easy a road as Day. Like Day, if Spieth wins the Tour Championship, he wins the whole shebang. If he doesn't, he'll have to finish at worst in a two-way tie for sixth to still have a shot at the grand prize.
3. Rickie Fowler
Fowler's ascension came swiftly with a win at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Like Day and Spieth, a win at East Lake is a win for it all. Fowler can also finish as low as T4 and still walk away with the cup.
4. Henrik Stenson
Stenson is the highest-ranked player without a win on the PGA Tour this season, but he does have runner-up finishes in both the Barclays and the Deutsche Bank Championship. With a taste for the cup given his good play over the last month, the 2013 Tour Championship winner and FedEx Cup champion has been here before. If he wins, he'll join Tiger Woods as only the second player to have won the FedEx Cup more than once. Without a victory, Stenson could still wind up atop the rankings with a finish as low as T3.
5. Bubba Watson
Watson won twice on Tour this year and is fifth going into the last event of the 2014-15 season. He has seven (!) other top-three finishes this year, but has only ever finished within the top 10 once at this event in 2012. Like the four men before him, Watson will need a win at the Tour Championship to claim the FedEx Cup, but can also finish as low as a two-way tie for second to still have a mathematical chance to win.
6. Zach Johnson
The man who broke the Spieth Streak is just as much a part of the FedEx Cup conversation. And, given that he previously carded a 60 at East Lake in the third round of the 2007 Tour Championship, he's a deadly presence in the hunt for the prize. The 2015 Open Championship winner will take it all home if he wins the final event and Day fails to finish solo second.
7. Dustin Johnson
Fewer golfers have had the "oh-so-close" luck that DJ has had this year, after finishing T2 at the U.S. Open and falling down the leaderboard after holding the first round lead at each of the last three majors. To achieve the ultimate redemption, he'll have to win the Tour Championship, hope that Day finishes in at best a three-way tie for second, AND hope Spieth finishes T2 or worse. A tall order, but we've already seen some wild leaderboard change-ups this season. Ask DJ, he would know.
8. Patrick Reed
Typically a loud and proud player, Reed has been more tame this year, but if he were to pull out a win at East Lake and have all of the following things happen, we may be reminded of just how fiery he can get. To bring home the FedEx Cup, here's what needs to happen for Reed:
- He wins the Tour Championship AND
- Day finishes fifth or worse,
- Spieth finishes in three-way tie for third or worse,
- Fowler finishes in three-way tie for second or worse,
- Stenson finishes T2 or worse,
- Watson finishes solo second or worse. (And if that happens, the FedEx Cup would end in a tie, forcing a sudden-death playoff.)
9. Rory McIlroy
The former World No. 1 has won twice this season but has been overlooked thanks to the soaring accomplishments of Spieth and Day. The Northern Irishman has come back with a vengeance following a foot injury that sidelined him for more than a month this summer, so while we shouldn't count him out yet, we may have to rely on the luck of the Irish to see McIlroy hoisting the FedEx Cup. Here's his scenario:
- McIlroy wins the Tour Championship AND
- Day finishes T6 or worse,
- Spieth finishes T4 or worse,
- Fowler finishes T3 or worse,
- Stenson finishes in a three-way tie for second or worse,
- Watson finishes T2 or worse.
10. Harris English
In this case, last definitely does not mean least. English, sitting on the fringe having just made the top 30 following the BMW Championship, is no stranger to just missing out on extending his playoff dreams (he was 31st in the standings following the 2013 BMW by 26 points, and 32nd following last year's BMW). This year, he finally has that chance...sure, it's incredibly slim, but if you want to bet on an underdog this weekend, this would be the story to watch. For English to come all the way from behind to pull off the ultimate win:
- English wins the Tour Championship AND
- Day finishes 29th or worse, (this would result in a tie, thus a sudden death playoff)
- Spieth finishes in three-way tie for sixth or worse,
- Fowler finishes T4 or worse,
- Stenson finishes T3or worse,
- Watson finishes in a three-way tie for second or worse,
- Zach Johnson finishes T2 or worse.
If there were any previous criticisms to the playoffs lacking action and excitement, think again. This weekend, it could be anyone's game.