It came a day late, but the final 30 players are now set for the PGA Tour's FedExCup finale in Atlanta. The TOUR Championship ends the regular season this year, with the new wrap-around schedule beginning after the Presidents Cup in October. East Lake now annually features the most exclusive field of the season, a trim 30 players from the original 125 that started out at The Barclays a month ago.
Each of the 30 players in the TOUR Championship field technically has a chance to win the entire FedExCup, which pays out a grand $10 million prize. But it's the top five who hold the most power, as they are the only ones that automatically win the entire playoffs with a win in Atlanta. All of the others would need help, with those top five finishing in the middle or bottom of the pack of 30.
After a week out of the top spot, Tiger Woods returns to No. 1 in the FEC standings. Woods fell out of No. 1 with a middling 65th place finish at the Deutsche Bank Championship, where Henrik Stenson rode his win and streaky 2013 form into the top spot. Stenson, however, held only a minuscule (by the ambiguous FEC standards) 14-point lead over Woods, so it was likely that the two flip-flopped by the end of the BMW Championship. Tiger had his frustrating moments -- missed bunny putts on Thursday, a quadruple-bogey off a questionable penalty on Friday -- but he was still in contention on Monday morning at the start of his final round. He actually started just one shot back from the eventual two-shot winner Zach Johnson, so it was still right there for Woods with 18 holes to play.
But Tiger could get nothing going on Monday, turning in an even-par 71 round that featured a rollercoaster of birdies and bogeys. A tied-for-11th finish, however, was more than enough to fly past Stenson back into No. 1 in the standings. Tiger may have had a rough week, but at least he wasn't snapping his driver into pieces like the Swede did on Monday:
Joining Woods and Stenson as those who "control their own destiny" at East Lake are Adam Scott, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar.
Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Ernie Els, and Graeme McDowell are some of the bigger names who did not make it through to the fourth and final playoff event. Harris English was the last man out, with Dustin Johnson just sneaking in after a day of jumping above and below the cut line. Here are your final 30 for Atlanta, as well as the 40 who were cut in Chicago:
|FEC Rank this Week||Last Week||Player|
|27||26||Brendon de Jonge|
|Eliminated from FedExCup Playoffs this week|
|35||31||Charles Howell III|