The final stage of the 2012 FedEx Cup Playoffs tees off this week at the Tour Championship from East Lake, and Rory McIlroy is heavily favored to win the Cup and $10 million winner's purse.
Even so, the points standings for all players are completely wiped out this week, thus giving any golfer a legitimate chance at winning the Cup should he win this week's Tour Championship. Names like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and others will comprise the 30-man field all hoping to better McIlroy by Sunday afternoon.
McIlroy, Woods and Mickelson have been playing the most consistent over the course of the playoffs as all three men finished in the top-5 at the BMW Championship two weeks ago at Crooked Stick. Look for all three men to be in contention again at East Lake this week, even with the one-week hiatus between events.
For Woods, winning the Tour Championship would tie him with McIlroy for most wins this season (four) and could punctuate a highly successful year for the once-struggling golfer. While a major is always the ultimate goal for Tiger every season, a $10 million purse is certainly nothing to take lightly.
Mickelson has struggled somewhat during his season, having missed four cuts in 21 events. While that may seem like a decent year by any other player's standards, Mickelson holds himself to a much higher standard that could be achieved by winning his first career FedEx Cup.
Finally, McIlroy has had a year of both ups and downs. In his 15 events played on tour this season, McIlroy has made 12 cuts and has pocketed more that $7 million to go along with his four tournament victories. It has been by far the most successful season of his career, and adding the FedEx Cup next to his PGA Championship on his trophy mantel will surely be impressive.
The 2012 Tour Championship begins Sept. 20 from East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.