Tiger, rest of top five know it's win or else

BY foxsports • September 23, 2009

You almost have to be a CPA to figure out the new PGA Tour playoff points system.

However, Tiger Woods and four others know exactly what they have to do this week in the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta to claim the FedEx Cup and the $10 million annuity that goes with it: Win the finale and take the money.

"No matter what kind of year you have, it really does pay to be in the top five to give yourself a chance," Woods said after regaining the points lead with his eight-stroke victory in the BMW Championship two weeks ago.

"That's not to say that the other 25 spots you can't win the golf tournament, but to win the FedEx Cup, if you're in the top five and you win the tournament, obviously you automatically get it.

"That's the important thing that I got from a lot of players is they were all trying to get into the top five, because (if) they win the Tour Championship, it's over. So the whole idea of the playoffs was for us to get into the top five."

There was so little suspense in the Tour Championship during the first two years of the FedEx Cup, with first Woods and then Vijay Singh coasting to the title, that drastic changes were made.

Instead of the points being reset at the end of the regular season, before the first event of the PGA Tour playoffs, the adjustment came heading into the finale this week.

That leaves Woods, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson and Heath Slocum as the Fab Five who can take home the prize by winning the Tour Championship. The likes of Padraig Harrington, Sean O'Hair, Scott Verplank and Kenny Perry are close behind, needing a victory and a stumble by the Fab Five.

Many of the players seem to like the process even if they don't completely understand it -- although, surprisingly, it becomes clearer to the players when they are on the golf course.

"I guess you can see when you're out there playing, the fluidity of it, what you're projected to be (because it's posted on the scoreboards), just based upon where you are," Woods said.

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