The FedEx Cup playoffs conclude this week as the PGA Tour heads to Atlanta for the season-ending Tour Championship. The top 30 golfers in the standings will tee it up, and one man will leave East Lake with the FedEx Cup trophy in hand.
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Bill Haas is not in the field to defend the title he won last year. With only 30 players making it to the fourth and final playoff event, we ranked the field top to bottom:
1. Rory McIlroy: Two wins in a row and three wins in his last four starts dating back to the PGA Championship. Clearly the hottest player on the planet right now, he can't pull off the three-peat...can he?
2. Tiger Woods: With back-to-back top-5 playoff finishes, Woods has now been outside the top 11 only once since Royal Lytham. He would love nothing more than to take the season-long trophy from McIlroy's grasp this week.
3. Jason Dufner: Will need some help from those ahead of him in the standings, but Dufner has had one of the more consistent seasons on Tour this year. He stands third on Tour in scoring average, fourth in GIR percentage and fifth in total driving.
4. Dustin Johnson: DJ will hope that recent form outweighs past event history. Johnson has top-6 finishes in each of the first three playoff events this year, but has finished no better than T-22 in this 30-man event each of the past three years.
5. Luke Donald: The former World No. 1 will look to improve on his runner-up finish here in 2010 and T-3 showing last year. As has become his trademark, Donald's finishes this year have been largely solid, though unspectacular, outside of a win in March at the Transitions Championship. Leading the Tour in total putting will likely aid his cause this week.
6. Jim Furyk: Perhaps the man with the best East Lake track record, Furyk returns for the first time since his triumph in 2010. Ranks third on Tour in driving accuracy and fourth in scrambling.
7. Phil Mickelson: A new putting grip continued to pay dividends at Crooked Stick, as Mickelson finished T-2 behind Rory McIlroy. Like Furyk, he has a win here (2009) to his credit.
8. Lee Westwood: His runner-up finish at the BMW allowed him to make one of the largest moves in the standings entering East Lake. Second on Tour in GIR percentage and third in the all-around ranking, Westwood will be making his first career appearance in this event.
9. Louis Oosthuizen: The South African appears to have no issues with a rib injury that seemed to plague him during the final round at TPC Boston. His Sunday 73 at Crooked Stick was his first round over 71 since a wind-blown second round at the PGA Championship.
10. Brandt Snedeker: Like Dustin Johnson, Snedeker used these FedEx Cup playoffs to solidify a spot on next week's Ryder Cup team. He remains one of five men who are guaranteed the FedEx Cup with a win this week, and leads the Tour in strokes gained putting.
11. Sergio Garcia: Clearly playing well of late despite a decision to skip the Deutsche Bank Championship. Garcia was runner-up here in 2008, his last appearance, and fourth the year prior.
12. Ryan Moore: One of only two men to play their way into the field of 30 at Crooked Stick, Moore has back-to-back top-10 playoff finishes this year and was T-9 in his only East Lake appearance in 2010.
13. Ernie Els: The Open champion has yet to record a top-25 finish during the playoffs, but his East Lake record is impressive: five top-10 finishes in his last six trips to Atlanta.
14. Adam Scott: Followed up a T-7 finish in Boston by doing one better in Indianapolis (T-6). Finished T-6 at last year's Tour Championship, and Scott has won previously at East Lake in 2006. Almost put him ahead of Els, but...
15. Bo Van Pelt: Notched his Tour-leading ninth top-10 finish of the year at Crooked Stick, though he surprisingly only has one top-five finish among that group. Finished ninth here last year.
16. Zach Johnson: A runner-up at East Lake in 2007, Johnson was T-9 here in his last appearance. Currently ranks in the top 10 on Tour in driving accuracy (10th), strokes gained putting (eighth) and the all-around ranking (eighth).
17. Bubba Watson: With the exception of a missed cut in Boston, Watson has been playing consistent golf since June with six top-25 finishes in his last seven starts. Leading the Tour in driving distance, he'll look to improve on last year's T-23 finish here.
18. Justin Rose: Making his fourth appearance at East Lake but still in search of his first top-10 finish here. Rose leads the Tour in GIR percentage and is sixth in the all-around ranking, but 140th in strokes gained putting.
19. Webb Simpson: The U.S. Open champ has only one top-20 finish in his last five starts and finished a disappointing 22nd here last year in his only appearance, when the FedEx Cup trophy was within his reach.
20. Steve Stricker: Another typically solid year for Stricker, highlighted by a win in Hawaii and only a single missed cut at The Players. While he sits inside the top 20 on Tour in several categories, his current rank of 99th in total driving stands out as a potential red flag this week.
21. Keegan Bradley: Cooled a bit since a win at Firestone and T-3 showing at the PGA, but Bradley still leads the Tour in the all-around ranking. Finished T-11 here last year in his first appearance.
22. Matt Kuchar: Kuchar hasn't cracked the top 30 in each of his last four starts - somewhat surprising for one of the more consistent players on Tour. Was dead last in the field at the BMW in GIR percentage.
23. Nick Watney: After opening the playoffs with a win at Bethpage, Watney somewhat fell back to the pack each of the next two weeks. Still, at third in the standings he controls his own fate this week should the putter catch fire as it did in New York last month.
24. John Senden: One of many in the field who have quietly put together a solid season, Senden has ten top-20 finishes in 21 starts on Tour this year. To improve on a 25th place showing at East Lake last year, Senden will need to improve his short game, where he currently ranks 97th on Tour in scrambling and 115th in strokes gained putting.
25. Carl Pettersson: The Swede has struggled mightily in the playoffs since a pair of top-5 finishes at the PGA and Wyndham. Was T-68 in GIR percentage and T-69 in driving accuracy out of 70 players at the BMW Championship.
26. Rickie Fowler: Fowler was likely hoping to make his first Tour Championship start with a bit more momentum. Having broken 70 only twice in his last 14 rounds on Tour, his last top-20 finish was at Colonial nearly four months ago.
27. Robert Garrigus: Like Ryan Moore, Garrigus played his way into the top 30 at Crooked Stick. His length off the tee will be an asset, but his struggles on the greens (currently 149th on Tour in strokes gained putting) may be his downfall.
28. John Huh: The only rookie to make the field at East Lake, Huh is now playing with house money. This week he'll be looking for his first top-10 finish since the Crowne Plaza Invitational in May.
29. Scott Piercy: The last man in the field on points, Piercy's scenarios to win the FedEx Cup start with "if Rory McIlroy finishes 29th or worse..." To even entertain those permutations, Piercy will need to improve his accuracy off the tee, where he currently ranks 147th on Tour.
30. Hunter Mahan: Clearly affected by missing the Ryder Cup squad, Mahan hasn't cracked the top 30 in his last six starts and finished dead last at Crooked Stick, shooting 80-77 over the weekend.
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