Tiger Woods is in position to make history by picking up his third FedEx Cup championship – but it’s not going to happen. He enters the TOUR Championship first in the standings and in control of his own destiny. If he wins at East Lake, the $10 million check goes home with him. He can also win the grand prize should someone outside of the top five in the FedEx Cup standings win the event and Woods finishes high enough to secure enough points to remain in first place.
There are several possible outcomes that would result in Woods winning the FedEx Cup championship for a record third time. He will not play well enough to get it done, however. Yes, Tiger has won five times on the PGA Tour this year, but he has failed to close the deal in most of the big events he’s played this year. I think it’s fair to say that this tournament qualifies as a big one.
Even though he hasn’t won a major this year he hasn’t performed poorly in them – he finished T2 at The Masters and T6 at the Open Championship. He also won the unofficial fifth major, the PLAYERS Championship. It’s the tie for 32nd at the U.S. Open and the tie for 40th at the PGA Championship that leave me questioning how he will play this week. Woods has also been a bit erratic so far in the Playoffs, finishing T2, T65 and T11 in the three previous events.
If Woods wants to have any chance at the top FedEx Cup prize he is going to have to drive the ball well this week. He’s 53rd on the PGA Tour this year in driving accuracy and that’s simply not going to get it done. He ranks 14th in strokes gained – putting, which means his putter has gotten him out of a lot of jams this year and has significantly contributed to his first overall ranking in scoring average. Another thing he is going to have to improve upon is his final round scoring. Tiger is 118th on the Tour in that category with an average of 71.43. He’s not going to run away with this event so it will be imperative for him to score well on Sunday to have a chance.
It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that Woods finishes high enough this week to take home the FedEx Cup championship, but I just don’t see it happening. The more likely scenario is that he finishes somewhere between 10th and 15th in this tournament and ends up second or third in the final FedEx Cup standings. There will be a few holes that cost him the top spot in the standings when this week is over.