2014 TOUR Championship Preview: The Power Players
The FedExCup concludes this weekend with the 2014 TOUR Championship in Atlanta. Over the next three days, we’ll be breaking down each player to make the final field of 30 for the event – looking back at their seasons to date and garnering what chance they have of taking home the overall title.
Today’s edition features the power players – the eight men who have amassed at least 3,000 FedEx points to date.
Here’s a closer look at the 30 players who have qualified for the FedEx Cup TOUR Championship this week in Atlanta.
The Heavyweights (3,000+ points)
Chris Kirk – Points: 4,314; Wins: 2 – The McGladrey Classic, Deutsche Bank Championship; Top 10 finishes: 4 (two wins, Sony Open in Hawaii, The Memorial); Analysis: Winning one of the three prior FedEx Cup stops is a big deal – it means you can handle the pressure and win a tournament thick with competition.
Ace in the hole: Is a resident of Atlanta and graduated from the University of Georgia.
Billy Horschel – Points: 4,305; Wins: 1 – BMW Championship; Top 10 finishes (BMW, Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge, Franklin Templeton Shootout; Hyundai Tournament of Champions, FedEx St. Jude Classic, CVS Caremark Charity Classic, Deutsche Bank Championship). Analysis: Talk about all or nothing! Prior to his second-place at the Deutsche Bank and win last week, Horschel had string of four tournaments where he missed two cuts, and finished 47th and 58th in the other two. Ace in the hole: No one is hotter right now.
Bubba Watson – Points: 4,058; Wins: 2 – The Masters, Northern Trust Open; Top 10 finishes: 8 (two wins, WGC-HSBC Champions; Northwestern Mutual World Challenge; Waste Management Phoenix Open; WGC-Accenture Match Play; WGC-Cadillac Championship; The Memorial); Analysis: Runner-up last week was first sign of a pulse since finishing third at the Memorial in June – since then he’d missed the cut at the US Open and British Open, and finished tied for 64th at the PGA Championship. Ace in the hole: His last time playing in Georgia was kind of a big day.
Rory McIlroy – Points: 3,735; Wins: 3 – The Open Championship, WGC-Bridgestone, PGA Championship; Top 10 finishes: 11 (Three wins, WGC-HSBC, Honda Classic, Shell Houston Open, The Masters, Wells Fargo, The PLAYERS, Deutsche Bank, BMW Championship); Analysis: Eleven top 10 finishes in 16 events is just staggering; and he finished no lower than 25th in the other five. He’s been fifth and eighth the last two weeks, and unless another big fish wins the tournament, he’s probably going to take the overall title if he stays on track. Ace in the Hole: Does he really need one?
Hunter Mahan – Points: 3,363; Wins: 1 – The Barclays; Top 10 finishes: 6 (One win, Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, Waste Management Phoenix Open, Pebble Beach, WGC-Match Play, WGC-Cadillac Championship, CVS Caremark, PGA Championship): Analysis: After a fast start, tailed off until early August, when he played progressively better and better at Bridgestone, the PGA Championship and The Barclays. ce in the Hole: Could become the first man to ever win the overall title and the Barclays in the same year.
Jimmy Walker – Points: 3,073; Wins: 3- Frys.com, Sony Open in Hawaii, Pebble Beach; Top 10 finishes: 10 (Three wins, CIMB Classic, The Masters, The PLAYERS, Colonial, US Open, CVS Caremark, PGA Championship, Deutsche Bank); Analysis: While the common thread is to say Walker is here by virtue of three early wins, that’s not really the case. He had Top 10 finishes at three of the four Majors this year. Ace in the hole: Only one round over par in the last two stops in the playoff.
Jim Furyk – Points: 3,073; Wins – 0; Top 10 finishes: 10 (Northwestern Mutual Word; WGC-Match Play; Valero Texas Open; RBC Heritage; Wells Fargo; The PLAYERS; The Open Championship; RBC Candaian Open; PGA Championship; The Barclays; Analysis: Obviously not having a single win is a weird spot for a man in Furyk’s position, and his Sunday struggles will only magnify if he’s hanging around on Sunday.
Ace in the hole: He actually knows what it’s like to win one of these things; taking the title in 2010 despite being disqualified from The Barclays for missing his pro-am tee time. He was 11th entering the final tournament and won it by a single stroke over Luke Donald.