The 2013-2014 FedEx Cup Playoffs are here. For four weeks the best golfers on the PGA Tour will compete for the honor of being crowned the FedEx Cup champion and for a cool 10 million dollars for the winner.
The first event is The Barclays which starts tomorrow (August 21st) which features the top 125 golfers in the FedEx Cup standings. From there the top 100 golfers move on to TPC Boston for the Deutsche Bank Championship (August 29th). From there the top 70 golfers move on for the BMW Championship (September 4th) and then the top 30 golfers participate in the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club (September 11th) for the season finale.
For the season finale the points reset so the leader has 2,500 points, second place has 2,250, all the way down to 30th where the 30th place golfer has 210 points. The points reset so that all 30 golfers have a chance to win and so that typically whoever wins the Tour Championship will win the FedEx Cup Championship. Anybody residing in the top 5 that wins the Tour Championship will win the FedEx Cup Championship.
That’s basically the basics of what you really need to know for the playoffs. Now, before I get into rattling off some predictions, here is one interesting note from the 2013-2014 PGA Tour season:
Kenny Perry (197th), Darren Clarke (198th), Bernhard Langer (199th), Tom Watson (214th), Freddy Couples (215th), and Mark Calcavecchia all finished higher than Tiger Woods (218th) in the FedEx Cup standings for the season. That’s pretty amazing.
As we start making predictions, let’s look into the past and see if we can find any trends.
- Since 2007, five of the seven winners have come from inside the top 10 heading into the playoffs. Only Bill Haas and Brandt Snedeker have come from outside the top 10. Haas won the FedEx Cup in 2011 starting from 15th while Snedeker won in 2012 starting in 19th position.
So, you can pretty much write off anybody outside the top 19…but, I’m not quite willing to do that. There’s one golfer that I think may break that trend this year. He isn’t who I’m officially taking, but think of him as a super sleeper pick. That golfer is Jason Day.
Day is starting the FedEx Cup Playoffs in 34th position. That means he has a little bit of work to do just to get into the Tour Championship, but Day is peaking at a good time.
It’s been a tough year for Day as he’s had battled lingering injuries all year long. Day won the WGC-Accenture Match Play but it was a bittersweet win as after his epic battle with Victor Dubuisson he had a thumb and wrist injury that kept him sidelined for a couple of months and he had to play through all year long.
After finishing T-15 at the PGA Championship it looks as though Day is finally healthy and might finish the season with a bang. Not only that, but Day has played very well at East Lake Golf Club in the past. Last year, Day finished T-14, and in 2011: T-6. If you want a live underdog outside the top 10-20, I believe Day is the pick.
- Five of the seven FedEx Cup winners have won the final event
That’s basically what the PGA Tour has wanted to accomplish. Make the final event a winner-take-all, so to speak. The only time that it hasn’t happened was in 2008 and 2009.
In 2008, Vijay Singh won the FedEx Cup, while Camillo Villegas won the Tour Championship. In 2009, Woods won the FedEx Cup while Phil Mickelson won the Tour Championship.
- In the seven years, only two times has a golfer come into the Playoffs as the number one golfer ended up winning the FedEx Cup. Those two times were done by Tiger Woods.
That doesn’t really bode well for Rory McIlroy who comes into the playoffs number one, but if there’s anybody that can do it it’s obviously McIlroy. We are in the Rory era and you have to think McIlroy will capture a FedEx Cup or two before his career is over and he may capture his first FedEx Cup this year.
Rory’s clearly the favorite and has won three tournaments in a row including The Open and PGA Championship. But, that’s the thing. I think McIlroy has already peaked and I just don’t know if he can keep up this scorching pace. I definitely wouldn’t be surprised if he did, but I’m not going to pick McIlroy to win the FedEx Cup this year. It’s the obvious pick and it’d be just be to easy.
Here are some other interesting tidbits:
- Tiger Woods is the only multiple FedEx Cup Champion (2007 and 2009).
- Tiger Woods has the most FedEx Cup Playoff event wins with three. Only Singh, Villegas, Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, McIlroy, and Henrik Stenson have two wins.
- Hunter Mahan is the only golfer to play in all four playoff events for all seven years. Hunter Mahan will look to make it 32, but he’ll have some work to do this year as he enters the playoffs in 62nd position.
Of the golfers in the top 10, aside from McIlroy, I think the two golfers that have the best chance to win it all is Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar. Both Furyk and Kuchar have had high quality seasons where they competed week in and week out.
Unfortunately, for both, they could have had a couple of wins. Luckily, for Kuchar he did end up getting a win, but Furyk still has a goose egg for the season and still looking for his first PGA Tour win since 2010.
Both are playing great golf, but for Furyk he’s coming so close that it’s bound to fall his way eventually. Furyk, who won the 2010 FedEx Cup, is well equipped to win another FedEx Cup and right now he sits in 5th place. If he stays in that top 5 he has a great shot to take home another FedEx Cup.
Furyk has had a lot of success at East Lake. Last year, Furyk finished T-14, in 2012 Furyk finished in a solo 7th place finish, and in 2010 he won it. So, if Furyk can keep himself in the position he’s at he may take home his second FedEx Cup Championship.
Getting back to that stat back at the top in which all seven FedEx Cup winners have come from the top 19, but only two have been outside the top 10. This year, I think that stat may grow. I think there’s a good chance that someone from the 11-20 range may get that win.
Starting off with Adam Scott who comes into the playoffs in 15th. Scott is coming into the playoffs with a chip on his shoulder. Scott didn’t win a major this year, Scott lost his number 1 ranking and has seen McIlroy win two majors. If there’s anyone that wants it the most, I believe it’s Scott.
If Scott can win the FedEx Cup that may put a little salve on…not a bad season – it was a very good season – but a major-less season and that’s where Scott is at in his career now.
Only three players in golf history have finished in the top five in all four majors in a season. Rickie Fowler did that this year joining a very exclusive club in Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Fowler though is even in a more exclusive club than those two though – a club he’d rather not be in – as he’s the only player in golfer history to finish in the top 5 at all four majors and not get a win.
That’s a bittersweet stat for Fowler, but it’ll be all sweet for Fowler if he manages to win the FedEx Cup and deposits 10 million bucks into his bank account.
Everything over the past couple of months has been overshadowed by the Rory McIlroy empire, but remember when Justin Rose was going for his third straight tournament victory at The Open? I do. Don’t forget about someone like Rose who ended up finishing T-23 at The Open and has had a good string of tournaments finishing T-4 at the WGC-Bridgestone, and T-24 at the PGA Championship.
Ridgewood Country Club, the host of The Barclays, is a tough course. It rewards accuracy, precision iron play, and a great putter. Rose is a fantastic all around player and the tougher the course, the better it is for Rose. Rose absolutely thrives on tough courses and this week at The Barclays should be tough as there may not be anybody in double digits this week.
In 2008 Vijay Singh won with a score of -8. In 2010, Matt Kuchar won with a score of -12; Only four golfers ended up at ten-under par or better. Those are scores that benefits someone like Rose.
Not only that, but looking ahead at the Tour Championship. East Lake is a tough course and in typical Rose fashion he has thrived. Last year, Rose finished T-6, in 2012, a solo 2nd place finish, in 2011: T-20, and 2010: T-15.
So, while like Rory, Furyk, Kuchar, Day, and Scott, when it comes down to it if I had to make a pick I would – and am – taking Justin Rose. A little bit out of the box, a little bit under-the-radar, but that’s what I like.
Let’s see, I’ll make a few more predictions – and we’ll make ‘em bold, nothing easy or chalk or anything like that.
Patrick Reed misses the Tour Championship
With everything amplified in the playoffs spots will change wildly, but for a top 10 player to miss the Tour Championship that would be pretty amazing. But, I do think there’s a very strong chance Reed misses the Tour Championship.
Ridgewood doesn’t exactly set up in favor of Reed’s favor. I’ll be surprised if Reed competes this weekend. I see the more likely scenario of Reed missing the cut rather than competing at The Barclays this week and if he misses the cut then Reed will dig himself a little bit of a hole.
Henrik Stenson makes the Tour Championship
This might not see all that bold on paper considering it is Henrik Stenson, the defending FedEx Cup champion, but right now he sits 70th in the standings. He has a lot of work to do to make the season finale, but I think Stenson does it. Stenson is a big game player and I think he’ll compete at The Barclays, Deutsche Bank, and the BMW Championship to make The Tour Championship.
Lee Westwood misses the BMW Championship
It’s a tough road for Westwood just to advance to the Deutsche Bank Championship next week, but if he does I think that’ll be the last week Westy plays on the PGA Tour this season.
Nick Watney misses the Deutche Bank Championship; Jhonattan Vegas advances
One last prediction: Watney sits 94th in the standings and Vegas sits 108th. Right now, Watney would advance while Vegas would be eliminated, but after the Barclays I think it’ll be the opposite. I see Vegas, who is an excellent striker of the ball, having enough success to where he’ll advance to next week.
Watney normally shines during this part of the year and is coming off a T-5 at Wyndham where he almost won, but Watney just can’t make a putt. Ridgewood has tough greens and I think Watney’s putting will cost him. Just a hunch.
All in all, I hope this article was helpful and really this is going to be an exciting four weeks of golf. These are a lot of the best players playing in major-like tournaments for four straight weeks and we’ll see what happens. This should be fun.