FedEx Cup scenarios abound at Tour Championship


So you're saying there's a chance.

With the postseason field whittled down to 30 for the season-ending Tour Championship, each of the players teeing it up at East Lake has a mathematical chance to hoist the FedEx Cup. While some control their own destiny, others may want to pack an abacus in their golf bag.

For the top five in the standings, the scenario is simple. Should Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson or Bubba Watson win at East Lake, they will also leave with the FedEx Cup. There are, however, other scenarios where those players could win the season-long trophy without winning the Tour Championship. Day, for instance, still has a "reasonable" chance with a top-five finish, while Stenson could win with a runner-up result, meaning it is plausible for the Swede to win the FedEx Cup without winning a single Tour event this year.

After that, it gets a bit messy. Zach Johnson and Dustin Johnson, at Nos. 6 and 7, respectively, both need to win this week and have Day finish worse than a three-way tie for second. At No. 11, the position from which Jim Furyk won the FedEx Cup in 2010, sits Rory McIlroy. The Ulsterman would need a win combined with Day finishing T-6 or worse, Spieth finishing T-4 or worse, Fowler finishing T-3 or worse, and Stenson and Watson both no better than a three-way tie for second.

The scenarios are even more complicated for Brooks Koepka, who at No. 25 occupies the spot Bill Haas held before winning it all in 2011. Koepka needs a win along with Day finishing 19th or worse, Spieth in a three-way tie for fifth or worse, Fowler finishing fourth or worse, Stenson finishing T-3 or worse and both Watson and Z. Johnson no better than a three-way tie for second. 

Then there is Harris English, who rounds out the field at No. 30. After a pair of near-misses, English is happy simply to make the season finale, but his path to the FedEx Cup is especially steep. He needs to win the Tour Championship along with six other stipulations from the top players in the standings - notably having the red-hot Day finish 29th or worse in the 30-man field.