The complexion of how all of the golfers rank during the FedExCup Playoffs can change with every birdie or better and bogey or worse. Golfers on the course have no idea where they stand until they post, and even then nothing is official until the final stroke is made. This is the PGA TOUR in the modern world.
The seventh edition of the FedExCup Playoffs begins this week at The Barclays. The top 125 in FedExCup points qualify. Points are quintupled for the first three tournaments, after which the top 30 will be reset for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Any of the top five upon arrival at East Lake can clinch the FedExCup with a win.
Liberty National in Jersey City, N.J., returns as host of The Barclays. It could play as a much different track than what the field experienced the first time around in 2009 due to the series of modifications, but it won't be as new on the eyes as Conway Farms in Lake Forest, Ill., site of the BMW Championship for the first time. TPC Boston (Deutsche Bank Championship) and East Lake (TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola) are the cornerstones of the Playoffs.
Despite the parity and unpredictability these four events are certain to generate, trends have developed since the current iteration of the points structure was introduced in 2009. First, exactly seven golfers outside the top 30 survived all three phases in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Eight advanced all the way to East Lake in 2010. Three golfers have accomplished the feat twice, including Adam Scott who started as the No. 32 seed in both 2010 and 2012. The poster boy for rising up is John Senden. He's turned the trick three times, falling short only in 2010. His starting slots were 31st (2009), 50th (2011) and 37th (2012).
Another commonality among the last four Playoffs is that exactly one golfer from outside the opening top 30 has won one of the four tournaments. The exclusive club consists of Heath Slocum (124th, The Barclays), Charley Hoffman (77th, Deutsche Bank Championship), Justin Rose (44th, BMW Championship) and Nick Watney (49th, The Barclays). Of the 16 winners overall, Slocum (eighth) is the only to finish outside the top five at the conclusion of the Playoffs.
All of the starting top 13 from every edition have advanced to East Lake. Last year, all golfers inside the top 19 made it through the first three phases. Defending FedExCup champion, Brandt Snedeker, entered at No. 19. He starts this week ranked third and stands the best chance of becoming the first reigning champ to return to East Lake the following year.
As far as what it takes to survive the first step, all golfers that have finished inside the top 42 on the leaderboard at The Barclays have earned tee times at TPC Boston. For those that don't, bonus prize money is awarded on top of any official earnings. Even those that wrapped up the conclusion of the PGA TOUR season that leads into the FedExCup Playoffs slotted 126-150 in points banked $32,000 in bonuses.
|Power Rankings: FedExCup Playoffs|