Coming into the BMW Championship, five players had managed to advance to the Tour Championship in all four prior years of the FedEx Cup. After play in Chicago on Sunday, only three remain 5-for-5 in reaching the playoff finale.
Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, 2010 FedEx Cup winner Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and Hunter Mahan all had made it to the first four Tour Championships under the FedEx Cup format. Els and Furyk, however, were unsuccessful in accruing enough points to get to East Lake.
Els finished T-42 at the BMW Championship, coming up well short of becoming the first player to barrel through the playoffs after starting the Wyndham Championship outside the top 125 in points.
Defending champion Furyk could not maintain his early tournament momentum to crack the top 30, either, but he did continue a different streak. No FedEx Cup winner has made it back to East Lake in the season after winning the $10 million first-place playoff prize.
That leaves Mickelson, Stricker and Mahan as the lone three players to get to Atlanta in five straight years. Mickelson enters the Tour Championship 14th in the FedEx Cup ranking, while Mahan is 21st.
Stricker is 12th after withdrawing from the BMW Championship on Friday with a neck problem. That ended his run of competing in every round of every event in playoff history. But a win in Atlanta and a $10 million check might make that pain go away quickly.