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How those outside top 5 can win FedEx Cup

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Last week, the PGA Tour sent a 14-page memo explaining what each of the 30 players in the Tour Championship needs to do this week to win the FedEx Cup. Calculators were required.

If any of the players in the top 5 in points (Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, respectively) wins at East Lake, they automatically win the FedEx Cup, too. That’s the easy part.

As for the other 25 players’ chances? Well, it requires some complicated math.

Keep in mind that last year, Bill Haas was 25th entering the Tour Championship and still won the FedEx Cup. He’s the lowest seed to capture the biggest prize in golf.

Here are five notable players and their various playoff scenarios:

10. Jason Dufner

He was second in points entering the FedEx Cup playoffs, but opted to skip the opening event to rest. Will that move backfire? Check back Sunday.

• Must win Tour Championship AND have McIlroy finish 5th or worse; Woods finish 4th or worse; Watney finish 3rd or worse; Mickelson finish 3rd or worse; and Snedeker finish 2nd or worse.

15. Luke Donald

The world No. 3 hasn’t cracked the top 25 in the past two playoff events. He has a good record at East Lake, though – a runner-up and T-3 in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

• Must win Tour Championship AND have McIlroy finish 9th or worse; Woods finish 5th or worse; Watney finish 4th or worse; Mickelson and Snedeker finish 3rd or worse; No. 6 Louis Oosthuizen finish 2nd or worse.

21. Adam Scott

The Aussie began the playoffs at No. 34 in points, but back-to-back top-7 finishes at TPC Boston and Crooked Stick have given him at least an outside chance of winning the FedEx Cup.

• Must win Tour Championship AND have McIlroy finished 13th or worse; Woods finish 5th or worse; Watney finish 4th or worse; Mickelson, Snedeker and Oosthuizen finish 3rd or worse.

No. 27 Rickie Fowler

It’s been a disappointing playoffs performance from Fowler, who hasn’t finished better than T-24 in three starts. Now, he needs some help.

• Must win Tour Championship AND McIlroy finish 23rd or worse; Woods finish 7th or worse; Watney finish 5th or worse; Mickelson finish 4th or worse; Snedeker and Oosthuizen finish 3rd or worse.

No. 30 Scott Piercy

Hey, it’s the FedEx Cup – everyone has a mathematical shot! In Piercy’s case, of course, it’s just not a good shot.

• Must win Tour Championship AND have McIlroy finish 29th or worse; Woods finish 7th or worse; Watney finish 5th or worse; Mickelson finish 4th or worse; Snedeker and Oosthuizen finish 3rd or worse.