To nobody's surprise, Tiger Woods factors into the winning scenario for just about every one of the 30 players teeing it up on Thursday in the Tour Championship.
A win in the fourth and final FedExCup playoff game at East Lake for any of the top five competitors guarantees he will cash the $10 million paycheck, so Henrik Stenson (No. 2), Adam Scott (3), Zach Johnson (4), and Matt Kuchar (5), control their own fates, as does, of course, Woods. Tiger regained the top spot in the FEC standings despite his T11 finish in Monday’s rain-delayed final round of the BMW Championship, which Johnson won by two shots over Nick Watney.
For the rest of the gang, the only way golfers Nos. 6-30 (Steve Stricker through Dustin Johnson) can hoist the 2013 season-ending hardware is if Woods stumbles down the FEC ladder and lands anywhere from T2 (Stricker) to 29th or 30th (DJ), and even then they'd need several other stars to align. Even if the No. 1 in the world rankings plummets to 29th position, he would still have the smallest of chances at winning his third FedExCup title.
With two victories already (2007 and 2009) since the inception of the playoffs in 2007, Woods is the only golfer to come out on top more than once. Last year's cup holder Brandt Snedecker, No. 10 entering this week’s event, needs Woods to finish fifth or worse and Nos. 2-5 to stumble as well if he’s to become the first Tour champion to repeat.
PGATour.com spells out the various combinations of outcomes in Sunday’s closing round (weather permitting) that will allow one of the 30 survivors of the other three playoff tourneys to pocket 100,000 B. Franklins.
If he can just avoid another penalty, in what has become a series of questionable penalties this year, Tiger’s chances look pretty good.