Punch Shot: Who will win Tour Champ., FedEx Cup?

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Given his current form, Jason Day is the favorite to win both the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup. So is the Aussie a shoo-in, or will it be Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler or someone even further back in the standings holding one or both trophies on Sunday in Atlanta? Our writers weigh in.

By RYAN LAVNER

Tour Championship winner: Justin Rose. It’s been a quiet postseason for the Englishman, but now he heads to the friendly confines of East Lake. No worse than sixth in his last three starts there, Rose has shot a sub-par score in 10 of his last 13 rounds in Atlanta. Coming off a rare missed cut in Boston, he finished in a tie for 13th at the BMW, his sixth top-20 in his last seven worldwide starts. There is a convoluted scenario in which he could still win the FedEx Cup with a victory in the season finale, but at No. 12 in the points standings, everything would have to align.

FedEx Cup winner: Jason Day. He is a whopping 45 strokes better than any other player since the Open, and now the newly minted No. 1 arrives at East Lake, where he has recorded a top-six finish twice in the past three years. The most deserving player hasn’t won the cup each of the past four years, but the odds are still in the No. 1 player’s favor. Day has a 28 percent mathematical chance to win, as opposed to 11 percent and 8 percent for Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. Besides, according to PGA Tour projections, Day has a “reasonable” chance to win the FedEx Cup with only a top-five finish. There’s a good chance he can manage that – he has finished outside the top five just twice in his last seven starts.


By REX HOGGARD

No one is playing better than Jason Day right now. No one, which is why, if history is any guide, he won’t win the Tour Championship or the FedEx Cup.

As a rule, the season-long race rarely goes to script – see Haas, Bill 2011, as proof to that reality – which will open the door for Jordan Spieth, who begins the week at second on the FedEx Cup point list and could neatly wrap up both titles with his fifth victory of the season on Sunday.

Although Spieth hasn’t played his best golf in the playoffs – he missed the cut in his first two postseason starts and tied for 13th place last week at the BMW Championship – he has proven over his short career that he’s capable of the quick rebound.

He’s also proven himself adept at playing East Lake, finishing tied for second place in 2013 in his first start on the Donald Ross design.

But most importantly, he’s competitive and will use Day’s inspired run, and a building sentiment that the Australian may win the Player of the Year Award, as motivation to finish what has already been a historic season in style.


By WILL GRAY

The player leaving East Lake with the FedEx Cup trophy (and the Tour Championship title) will be the guy who only recently returned it: Henrik Stenson.

Sure, Stenson hasn’t won yet this season. But his stats show that he has been one of the Tour’s best all year, as the Swede leads in GIR percentage, total driving and total strokes gained. He has been one of the best players in the postseason as well, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-10 result at the BMW.

It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of Jason Day’s ascent to the top of the golfing world, but Day is not the only player peaking at the right time. At No. 4 in the standings, Stenson controls his own destiny and will win the FedEx Cup if he wins the Tour Championship – a double-dip that he pulled off in his first trip to East Lake in 2013.

Unlike the other four players at the top of the standings, Stenson knows what it takes to win at East Lake and his tee-to-green game remains ideally suited for the difficult track. As long as the putter cooperates, he’ll join Tiger Woods as the only multiple winner of the FedEx Cup.