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2014 FedEx Cup: Leaderboard of Stars Makes for Epic $10M Sunday Fight

Published by Bleacher Report on Fri, 12 Sep 2014


One look at the leaderboard of the Tour Championship tells you the last three days of the FedEx Cup playoffs are heading to an epic finale. Pit the best against the best and youre seeing a Fall Classic the MLB would gladly trade for.Fifteen of the 30 golfers are under par, and heres a sampler of who they are: Rory McIlroy (one under), Adam Scott (one under), Sergio Garcia (one under) and Rickie Fowler (one under). Toss in two former FedEx Cup champions in Bill Haas (two under) and Jim Furyk (three under). Season that with some Bubba Watson (three under).Garnish with the validating play of FedEx Nos. 1 and 2 Chris Kirk and Billy Horschel (both at four under) and youre looking at a weekend of golf more reminiscent of Rockys bout with Ivan Drago without the Cold War histrionics sullying the whole scene.Heck, Horschel is willing to miss the birth of his first child to win this tournament. Horschel told the Golf Channel after his round:Ten million dollars is a lot of money. We both came to a good decision that if I happened to get to the Tour Championship that I would stay here and if the child came while I was playing I would fly back that night and spend a few hours with them, then fly back the next morning. Hopefully the baby will stay put for a couple of days. If it happens to come while Im on the golf course Im going to keep playing. Hopefully well have a story to tell our daughter that I stayed and I won $10 million.That merely adds to the drama that will undoubtedly unfold over the following three days.There was a stretch of golf on Thursday where Watson, a player who has won the Masters twice, for all his notoriety hasnt amounted to much on the course. For instance, he was the co-leader at East Lake, then coughed it up with a double bogey on 13. He then rattled off three straight birds, then bogeyed No. 18.Watson looks like a hacker the way he swings. Municipal-tee-time-guy has the same swing as Watson. The difference being Watson is, as the popular television commercial would have you believe, a bomb wrapped in dynamite, or something to that effect.Watson is No. 1 in driving distance after Day 1 with an average detonation of 322.9 yards (including one 358-yard atom bomb). It didnt hurt that he was also No. 1 in putts per GIR with 1.5.East Lake Golf Club relented to the golfers only to stab them in the back. Take Scott.He stitched together four straight birdies on the back nine, then gagged on Nos. 17 and 18. This is a guy who wants to poke out from under the titanic shadow McIlroy casts from Northern Ireland to the far reaches of Australias southern hemisphere.Scott was only T16 in the fairways hit but No. 2 in putts per GIR. His five birdies were good enough for T2. If Scott can sew together the golf hes capable of, he can sprint up this leaderboard, just like Fowler could.The Puma-clad gladiator had a nondescript Thursday with three birdies and two bogeys. Hes another who can go on one of those runs and rain orange on the 18thgreen come Sunday. Thats part of the fun. Any one of these guys can and likely will have a share of the lead.The FedEx Cup playoffs have had some real snoozers in the past. Tiger Woods victories in 2007 and 2009 didnt involve too much drama. Vijay Singh finished T22 and nine-over par in 2008, and he still won the darn Deliverminator Award, as NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin may preach.Then along came Furyk, who turned his hat backward in the rain to win the 2010 Tour Championship surfacing from the thickets a winner of $10 million."Today I had to win the golf tournament, and I don't know what the scenarios were," Furyk said on Golf.com. "I don't know where Matt [Kuchar] had to finish, I didn't really know. And to be honest with you, coming up 18 I assumed I was playing for the FedEx Cup, but I wasn't 100 percent sure."He made it far more interesting than it had to be (and thank goodness for that after the first three FedEx Cup runs). He bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17 and still edged Luke Donald by one.Then, in 2011, Haas needed a playoff. Lets let the Associated Press set up Haas run at the Cup: Bill Haashad a sinking feeling when he heard the gallery groan, the first indication that his shot had tumbled down the slope and into the lake. When he saw the ball only half-submerged in water, Haas figured he still had the slightest chance.Haas pinned his pitch like a tail on a donkey to save par. It was an all or nothing shot," Haas said. "So if I don't pull it off, I'm shaking Hunter's hand."And it was Hunter Mahan shaking his hand.The pedigree atop this year's Tour Championship leaderboard is a whos who. Theres future Hall of Famers from all over the world. Major winners, tournament winners, big hitters, corkscrewed swings and liquid finishes.Theres the No. 1 player in the world, in a relative slump, saying in The Guardian, ...a FedEx Cup win. Thats the real reason I want to win this week. I just want to finish the year off well. The money is nice, its great. But at the same time its the title that would mean more to me.He can close from off the pace and since hes within three strokes of the lead, he could make an apex-predator move toward the top, pulling down the leaders one at a time.Theres been drama in a few renewals of the FedEx Cup playoffs, but this one has a dream-team feel to it with an undetermined last man standing, putter in hand and $10 million in the bank at the finish line.And for one co-leader on Day 1, maybe even a new baby too.All stats courtesy of PGATour.com.
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