ShotLink: FedExCup race in home stretch

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At 46, Bob Estes is in the midst of a big comeback year on the PGA TOUR. He last made the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup in 2009.
June 06, 2012
Alex Turnbull, ShotLink

FEDEXCUP: McIlroy, Z. Johnson eye top spot | Current standings | Week-by-week leaders

Believe it or not, the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup are only 11 events away. Beginning with this week's FedEx St. Jude Classic, players must snag as many points as possible to ensure a good position ahead of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.

With the power of ShotLink, we can see how players are positioned ahead of the stretch run.

No. 1: Most Points Per Event in 2012 FedExCup

Most Points Per Event in 2012
Rank Player Points Per Event Events FedExCup Rank
1 Rory Mcllroy 184.214 7 8
2 Tiger Woods 156.007 9 3
3 Bubba Watson 137.221 10 5
4 Jason Dufner 123.893 14 1
5 Hunter Mahan 123.067 12 2
6 Luke Donald 118.833 9 13
7 Ben Curtis 110.769 8 19
8 Matt Kuchar 108.304 12 7
9 Zach Johnson 106.589 13 4
10 Justin Rose 101.909 11 12

Entering week 23 of the 2012 season, Rory Mcllroy leads in points per event with an average of 184.214 -- and his closest competitor, Tiger Woods has just 156.007 points per event. With Rory Mcllroy and Zach Johnson both playing in the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, both have a shot at pulling into the No. 1 spot in the FedExCup standings. The week before the U.S. Open could bring a turn of events in the FedExCup race.

No. 2: How are the top finishers from 2011 faring?

Bill Haas became the most unlikely FedExCup champion yet when he stormed to victory in the Playoffs finale in 2011 at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. It was his only win of the year.

The top 10 from 2011 vs. 2012 current standing
2011 Finish Player 2012 Current Rank
1 Bill Haas 17th
2 Webb Simpson 31st
3 Luke Donald 13th
4 Dustin Johnson 72nd
5 Justin Rose 12th
6 Matt Kuchar 7th
7 Hunter Mahan 2nd
8 Brandt Sneadeker 18th
9 Nick Watney 65th
10 Chez Reavie 146th

In 2012, Haas is already in excellent shape to make another deep run. His victory in the Northern Trust Open -- and the 500 points that came with it -- ensure he will have a strong seed this fall:

3. Who are the most improved players this year?

Last year at this point, Tiger Woods was 97th in the FedExCup standings. He would go on to finish the 2011 season (partly due to injuries) without making the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, but that won't be a problem this year, thanks in large to his two victories.

The two-time FedExCup champion has vaulted 94 spots in the standings (vs. 2011) and currently ranks third in the FedExCup.

Comeback players in 2012
Player 2012 2011 Improvement
Bob Estes 87th 246th +159
Dicky Pride 48th 198th +150
John Mallinger 67th 214th +147
Matt Every 33rd 174th +141
Louis Oosthuizen 29th 153th +124
Scott Piercy 54th 162nd +108
Harrison Frazer 74th 179th +105
Tiger Woods 3rd 97th +94
Ben Curtis 19th 111th +92
Ernie Els 26th 115th +89

The biggest movers? A pair of former winner of the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Bob Estes, who won this event in 2011, has five top-25s in 2012 (vs. one in 2011). Even more impressive is 1994 FedEx St. Jude champ Dicky Pride, who has three top-10 finishes after going 2010 and 2011 without a single top 10 :

4. The clock is ticking, and players are under the gun to grab points.

Entering Week 23: Making the TOUR Championship
Player Ranked Entering Week 23 2011 Finish
Chez Reavie 114th 10th
Geoff Ogilvy 70th 24th
Adam Scott 50th 16th
Fredrik Jacobson 47th 29th
Charles Howell III 43rd 19th
Bo Van Pelt 41st 23rd
John Senden 40th 13th
Y.E. Yang 39th 30th
Justin Rose 31st 5th

In 2011, 21 of the 30 players to make the TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola were inside the top 30 entering week 23. Only nine players ranked outside the top 30 entering week 23 of the regular season played their way into the TOUR Championship. The highest-ranked player to make the TOUR Championship at entering week 23 in 2011 was Chez Reavie, who went from 114th to 10th, mainly because he finished second after losing a playoff at the Deutsche Bank Championship: