The final tournament of the 2013 PGA Tour season and FedExCup tees off Thursday at East Lake in Atlanta, where Tiger Woods is going for his third career playoffs win and a $10 million payday. Despite not winning this current postseason, Woods starts the fourth and final leg of the playoffs as the No. 1 seed, owning the most options for an overall FedExCup win regardless of what happens this week at the TOUR Championship.
Tiger held onto the top spot in the FedExCup standings for most of the 2013 season, riding the mass of points accumulated during his five wins. But he was finally knocked from that perch by Henrik Stenson, another player who's been one of the hottest golfers in the world this summer and added a bundle of playoff points thanks to his win at TPC Boston in the second leg of the postseason. Tiger reclaimed the No. 1 seed last week with a tied-for-11th finish, while the Swede languished at Conway Farms. Both Woods and Stenson will automatically win the overall playoffs title, and that $10 million grand prize, with a win at the TOUR Championship. The top five, in fact, all automatically win it all with a victory this week, so Adam Scott, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar join those top two in controlling their own destiny.
The TOUR Championship is the smallest, most exclusive field of the PGA Tour season. Only 30 players are left from the original 125 that started a month ago in New York, and that extremely limited group gives Tour officials quite the luxury and cushion when it comes to setting the schedule. Inclement weather has hit all three playoff events so far, and finally pushed things to a Monday finish last week at the BMW. But with just 15 twosomes to maneuver through 18 holes, you'd need an extreme wash out to dramatically affect the schedule this week.
Unlike the prior three events, the players will go off in twosomes this week, paired according to their current FedExCup ranking. The TOUR will utilize that flexibility of the small field on Thursday, holding the first tee time until 11:40 a.m. ET and sending them off in 10-minute intervals thereafter. Tiger and Stenson will round it out at 2 p.m., so almost the entire field will have their full round fall within the 1 to 6 p.m. broadcast window on Golf Channel. Here's the tee sheet for Thursday's first round:
|11:40 AM||Donald, Luke||Johnson, Dustin|
|11:50 AM||de Jonge, Brendon||Points, D.A.|
|12:00 PM||Garcia, Sergio||Weekley, Boo|
|12:10 PM||Schwartzel, Charl||Castro, Roberto|
|12:20 PM||Simpson, Webb||Horschel, Billy|
|12:30 PM||Streelman, Kevin||Dufner, Jason|
|12:40 PM||Woodland, Gary||Haas, Bill|
|12:50 PM||Mahan, Hunter||Bradley, Keegan|
|01:00 PM||Spieth, Jordan||Day, Jason|
|01:10 PM||Furyk, Jim||Watney, Nick|
|01:20 PM||Rose, Justin||Snedeker, Brandt|
|01:30 PM||DeLaet, Graham||Mickelson, Phil|
|01:40 PM||Kuchar, Matt||Stricker, Steve|
|01:50 PM||Scott, Adam||Johnson, Zach|
|02:00 PM||Woods, Tiger||Stenson, Henrik|