How Tiger can make the FedEx Cup playoffs

By Ryan LavnerJuly 2, 2014, 4:07 pm

Tiger Woods was asked last week at Congressional if he expected to play in the July 17-20 Open Championship.

“Yeah,” he replied. “I’m just trying to get in the (FedEx Cup) playoffs somehow.”

That goal became more difficult to achieve when he missed the cut at the Quicken Loans National. 

It required some advanced-level math, but after crunching the numbers on our FedEx Cup calculator, one thing is clear: Woods needs to play well – very well – in his next three starts to have any chance of playing in golf’s postseason.

If he sticks to his usual schedule, Woods will have three more starts during the regular season (Open, Bridgestone, PGA). After four events this season, Woods has accrued 43 points and currently sits No. 208 on the FedEx Cup points list – behind Champions Tour player Mark Calcavecchia and world No. 333 Alex Prugh.

The cutoff man entering the Greenbrier Classic is Nick Watney, who is 125th on the list at 346 points. projects that, at the end of the wraparound regular season, No. 125 will have somewhere between 410-415 points. 

Complete FedEx Cup points rankings

Woods, then, will need to make up about 370 points in three events to be safe – or an average of 123 points per start.

All majors award 600 FedEx Cup points to the winner, with 330 to the runner-up, 210 to third place, 150 to fourth and 120 to fifth. 

The Bridgestone Invitational, a WGC event, awards 550 to the winner, with 315 to the runner-up, 200 to third place, 140 to fourth and 115 to fifth. 

What’s that mean for Woods? Well, he likely has to average at least a fifth-place finish in his next three starts. If he finishes fifth at the Open (120), fourth at the Bridgestone (140) and fifth at the PGA (120), he would have 423 points at the end of the regular season. That’d likely put him in the playoffs, or at least right on the cut line.

Let’s say he places 30th at the Open, a finish worth of only 41 FedEx Cup points. That would leave him with about 330 points to make up, and although the projections would change based on what he does at the Bridgestone – a no-cut event in which he’s guaranteed points – he’d likely need to average a top-3 finish in his last two starts to advance.

If he misses the cut at Hoylake, he’d also likely need a pair of top-3s at the Bridgestone and PGA to move on. 

Of course, winning takes care of everything, as Woods has been known to say, and that’s certainly true in the case of the FedEx Cup. A victory in any of his next three starts would give him either 550 (WGC) or 600 points (majors) and put him in position to at least make a few playoff starts. A runner-up or third-place finish at the Open would obviously help his cause, as well. 

Woods’ appearance in the FedEx Cup playoffs would impact not just fan interest and television ratings, but it’d also help shape the direction of the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

Captain Tom Watson reiterated Tuesday that he wants Woods (currently 69th in points) on the 12-man team if “he’s healthy and playing well.” It’d be a tough sell to select Woods, however, if he can’t play his way into the playoffs and then sits on the sidelines for another month and a half after the PGA. 

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Watch: Dechambeau simulates dew on East Lake range

By Grill Room TeamSeptember 18, 2018, 11:02 pm

Bryson DeChambeau has certainly lived up to his nickname of "Mad Scientist" since joining the PGA Tour, using his eccentric style to win four events, including the first two tournaments of this year's FedExCup Playoffs.

And he's staying on brand at the season-ending Tour Championship, where he enters as the favorite to capture the FedExCup title.

The 24-year-old was spotted on the East Lake range Tuesday, preparing for potential morning dew on the golf ball this week - by having a member of his team spray each golf ball between practice shots:

While this type of preparation might come off as a little excessive to the average golfer, it's rather mild for DeChambeau, considering that in the last two weeks alone he has discussed undergoing muscle activation tests and measuring his brain waves.

DeChambeau goes off with Justin Rose on Thursday at 2 p.m. He could finish as low as T-29 and still have a mathematical chance of winning the season-long FedExCup.

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Fewer goals but more consistency for Thomas in 2018

By Rex HoggardSeptember 18, 2018, 9:35 pm

ATLANTA – After winning last year’s FedExCup, Justin Thomas was asked about his goals for the season and he quickly went to his phone.

A list of 13 “goals” had been typed in, a rundown that ranged from qualifying for the Tour Championship to finishing in the top 10 in half of the circuit’s statistical categories. Nearly every goal had a “Y” next to it to denote he’d accomplished what he wanted.

Thomas was asked on Tuesday at East Lake how his goals are shaping up this season.

“I haven't looked in a while. I really haven't. I'm sure if I had to guess, I'm probably around 50 to 60, 70 percent [have been completed],” he said. “I definitely haven't achieved near as many as I did the previous year. But we still have one week left to knock a big goal off.”

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Thomas pointed out that although he didn’t add to his major total this season or win as many times as he did last year, he still feels like he’s been more consistent this year.

He has more top-25 finishes (19) than he did last year (14), missed fewer cuts (two compared to six last season) and has improved in nearly every major statistical category.

“It's been a really consistent year, and I take a lot of pride in that,” Thomas said. “That's a big goal of mine is to improve every year and get better every year, so if I can continue in this direction, I feel like I can do some pretty great things the rest of my career.”

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Woods' probation for reckless driving ends one month early

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 18, 2018, 9:00 pm

Tiger Woods' year-long probation stemming from last year's DUI arrest has been terminated a month early.

According to Sam Smink of WPTV, Woods, 42, was let off probation early for successfully completing all regular and special conditions of his probation after pleading guilty to reckless driving and entering a diversion program last October.

Under the conditions of the program, Woods was required to pay a $250 fine and court costs, attend a DUI school and undergo a substance abuse evaluation and treatment program. He was also subject to random drug and alcohol testing under the program.

The 14-time major champ was arrested on charges of DUI in May of 2017 after he was found unconscious behind the wheel of his parked Mercedes-Benz in Jupiter, Fla.

Although tests showed Woods was not under the influence of alcohol at the time, he admitted to taking several pain and sleep medications to cope with his fourth back surgery which was performed in April.

Since his arrest, Woods has returned to competition, rising to 21st in the Official World Golf Ranking after a pain-free campaign in 2018.

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Players wrapping their heads around FedEx changes

By Rex HoggardSeptember 18, 2018, 8:01 pm

ATLANTA – Even players who have known the details of the PGA Tour’s plan to dramatically change the way it crowns a FedExCup champion were still digesting the details on Tuesday at the Tour Championship.

“I think it’s maybe easier to follow for people at home. Kind of definitely strange and very different to be on 10 under par starting on the first tee,” said Justin Rose, who begins this week’s finale second on the points list.

Next year when a new strokes-based system will decide the season-long race, Rose would begin his week at East Lake 8 under, two strokes behind front-runner Bryson DeChambeau and eight shots ahead of Nos. 26-30 on the points list.

Most players said the new format will be an improvement over the current model, which is based on a complicated points structure. That’s not to say the new plan has been given universal support.

Current FedExCup standings

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Under the current format, the 30th-ranked player has a .4 percent chance of winning the cup, while the first player on the points list has a 27 percent chance. Those odds remain virtually identical under next year’s strokes-based format.

“I’m not saying the 30th guy should have the same shot as the fifth guy, but just make the odds a little bit better. Give them a 5 percent chance,” Billy Horschel said. “The strokes could be distributed differently. Maybe put the leader at 6 under [instead of 10 under] and then you go down to even par. Five or six shots back, over four days, you still have a chance.”

There will no doubt be a period of adjustment, but after more than three years of planning, most players were pleased with the general elements of the new plan if not all of the details.

“It's never going to be perfect,” said Justin Thomas, last year’s FedExCup champion and a member of the player advisory council. “No system in any sport is ever going to be perfect, and the Tour has done such a great job of talking to us and trying to get it as good as possible. But it's just hard to understand the fact that you could be starting behind somebody else and still somehow win a golf tournament or an official win.”