September 18 2013
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ATLANTA -- Matt Kuchar would love for history to repeat itself this year at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Only this year, he'd like to be the player winning the FedExCup from the No. 5 position like Brandt Snedeker did a year ago -- and it looks like he has some karma on his side.
Kuchar and Keegan Bradley were on the same flight heading to Atlanta from Chicago after the BMW Championship was over earlier this week. Bradley was studying the FedExCup standings and Kuchar, who had come to Conway Farms ranked fourth, was sure that Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker had bypassed him and bumped him down two spots.
"I got on the flight, and they were discussing, I think, Dustin Johnson was last man in at 30," Kuchar said. "So I asked if I could see his phone and just take a look see of where everybody had finished. I was shocked when I saw I was No. 5 and I only got bumped one spot.
"Keegan says, wow, that's quite strange. It was last year, same exact situation flying down with Snedeker that he thought he was going to be No. 6, and as the points all fell where they did, he ended up in fifth place and went on to win the TOUR Championship and the FedExCup.
"So I'm hoping that ... somehow there's some sort of fate there with Keegan being the middleman amongst that."
For the third time in the last four seasons, Kuchar has put himself in position to control his own destiny -- anyone ranked inside the top five in the standings is assured the FedExCup and its $10 million bonus should he win the TOUR Championship like Snedeker did last year. In fact, Kuchar can finish in a two-way tie for second and still have a mathematical shot.
The former Georgia Tech standout, who won twice this season for the first time in his career, came in ranked first in 2010 and ended up second to Jim Furyk, who was 11th. Kuchar also was fifth in 2011 when Bill Haas picked up the dual wins after starting 25th in the FedExCup.
"I remember years ago that one of my number one goals was just making the TOUR Championship, getting inside the Top 30, which was a big deal," Kuchar said. "... Now I've actually had a couple of visits to East Lake inside the Top 5. ... Your best chance is from that No. 1 slot, but being inside the top five is a big deal.
"So for me, stick with the goal for this week. It's great to be inside the Top 5 where you can control your destiny, but, again, kind of big picture, it's really exciting just to be back at East Lake. It's one of those things that stays on my list of goals to continue to qualify for this championship."