The FedEx Cup Playoffs begin this week at The Barclays, the first in a series of four exclusive, dwinddling-field events. Jordan Spieth currently leads the points list, but he's not a lock to win as points reset during the playoffs. Billy Horschel claimed the $10 million bonus last year, after starting in 69th position. Who will hit the jackpot this year? Our writers offer up their picks.
By REX HOGGARD
With apologies to Jordan Spieth, who by all accounts has enjoyed a season for the ages, it will be Jim Furyk who collects the FedEx Cup and $10 million bounty next month at East Lake.
The math, as Spieth pointed out on Tuesday at The Barclays, is exceedingly simple on this: you win the Tour Championship and you, most likely, win the FedEx Cup.
The last five cup champions won the PGA Tour finale and few, if any, have a better history at East Lake than Furyk.
In 16 starts at the Tour Championship the 45-year-old has finished inside the top 10 on 10 occasions, including his victory in 2010 when he also won the FedEx Cup.
Although Furyk began that 2010 post-season in much better position, he was third to start the playoffs compared to 18th this year, he will, if his alarm clock doesn’t betray him again, have the luxury of an extra start this time after being disqualified from The Barclays in ’10 when he overslept and missed his pro-am tee time.
History has proven that winning the FedEx Cup is about timing, not a timeless performance like what Spieth has produced, and no one has been as clutch when it counts at East Lake as Furyk.
By RYAN LAVNER
The FedEx Cup points reset hasn’t been kind to frontrunners, as no top seed has won the season-long competition since 2009. That’s why I’m taking a guy slightly further down the list, Justin Rose, to win this year’s FedEx Cup.
The classy Englishman checks in at No. 5 in the standings, and he rolls into the playoffs in fine form – four consecutive top-six finishes, three of which have come in majors and a WGC event. In other words, he’s getting it done against the top fields.
Rose is a good bet to get off to a strong start in the postseason, too; he tied for sixth the last time The Barclays was held at Plainfield CC, in 2011. That should keep him near the top of the points list heading into East Lake, where he has finished no worse than sixth over the past three years. This time, he will seal the deal with $10 million on the line. Sorry (again), Jordan.
By WILL GRAY
Paul Casey may not be the odds-on favorite to lift the FedEx Cup, but he’ll be the man with the hardware when they leave Atlanta.
After ditching his European Tour membership, Casey has blossomed while playing solely on the PGA Tour this season. He has contended a number of times, notably playoff losses at both Riviera and TPC River Highlands. He tied for third last week at Sedgefield, which like this week’s venue is a Donald Ross design, and enters the postseason with plenty of momentum. Both TPC Boston and Conway Farms, site of this year’s BMW Championship, should suit his style of play.
While the Englishman hasn’t won since 2009, we have seen each of the last two years that sometimes players raise their game during this four-week stretch. Both Henrik Stenson and Billy Horschel had gone more than a year without a PGA Tour victory before their respective runs to the FedEx Cup title.
And just for a little added numerology, Casey enters the playoffs at No. 19 in the standings – the same starting spot from which Brandt Snedeker won the title in 2012.