Here's how Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose can win the 2018 FedEx Cup on Sunday
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Here’s how Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose can win the 2018 FedEx Cup on Sunday


With one round to go in the 2018 Tour Championship, Tiger Woods carries a three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy into Sunday at East Lake with a chance to pick up his 80th PGA Tour win after a five-year wait.

However, even if Woods completes his comeback in Atlanta and wins the Tour Championship for the third time, there's no guarantee Woods will also win the FedEx Cup and its $10 million first-place prize for the third time.

That's because Woods entered the season finale ranked 20th in the FedEx Cup standings and third-place Justin Rose was second in the points. The points standings are reset ahead of the Tour Championship, giving each of the 30 qualifying players a mathematical chance of winning the FedEx Cup if things go their way. However, the top five players, like Rose, win the FedEx Cup if they win the Tour Championship, and the top four players can win the FedEx Cup without winning the Tour Championship.

For Justin Rose, he doesn't have to win the Tour Championship to win the FedEx Cup, but he must finish in the top three to ensure his win. Right now, he's in third place and would win the FedEx Cup if he finished there on Sunday, regardless of how many strokes behind the winner he finished -- Woods or McIlroy.

However, for Woods to win the FedEx Cup, he must win the Tour Championship, have Rose finish fifth or worse and have five other things happen in his favor in the final Tour Championship standings:

  • No. 1 (Bryson DeChambeau) finishes in a three-way tie for 12th or worse
  • No. 2 (Justin Rose) finishes 5th or worse
  • No. 3 (Tony Finau) finishes in a three-way tie for 3rd or worse
  • No. 4 (Dustin Johnson) finishes 3rd or worse
  • No. 5 (Justin Thomas) finishes in a three-way tie for 2nd or worse
  • No. 6 (Keegan Bradley) finishes T-2 or worse

DeChambeau is T-21, while Tony Finau and Dustin Johnson are tied for sixth. Justin Thomas is T-9, and Keegan Bradley is T-27. While Woods has to worry right now about Rose, both Finau and Johnson could prove a party pooper as well.

For McIlroy, his FedEx Cup-winning scenario is a touch simpler:

  • No. 1 (Bryson DeChambeau) finishes in a three-way tie for 10th or worse
  • No. 2 (Justin Rose) finishes in a three-way tie for 4th or worse
  • No. 3 (Tony Finau) finishes in a three-way tie for 3rd or worse
  • No. 4 (Dustin Johnson) finishes 3rd or worse
  • No. 5 (Justin Thomas) finishes T-2 or worse

Effectively, McIlroy has to worry about the same things: Rose finishing in the top three and either Tony Finau or Dustin Johnson making a Sunday charge.

Curiously, if this event were being played in 2019 with the new FedEx Cup scoring system for the Tour Championship, Justin Rose would begin the Tour Championship at 8 under par, while Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy would begin at 2 under par given their pre-tournament FedEx Cup ranking.

Here's how the current leaderboard would look using the new format:

Click header to sort

1 Justin Rose -9 2 -8 -17 T2
2 Tiger Woods -12 20 -2 -14 1
3 Tony Finau -5 3 -7 -12 T6
4 Rory McIlroy -9 17 -2 -11 T2
5 Dustin Johnson -4 4 -6 -10 T9
T6 Justin Thomas -4 5 -5 -9 T9
T6 Billy Horschel -5 9 -4 -9 T6
8 Bryson DeChambeau 2 1 -10 -8 T21
T9 Jon Rahm -6 24 -1 -7 T4
T9 Kyle Stanley -6 25 -1 -7 T4
T11 Webb Simpson -3 11 -3 -6 14
T11 Xander Schauffele -4 18 -2 -6 T9
T13 Aaron Wise -4 21 -1 -5 T9
T13 Paul Casey -5 26 0 -5 T6
T15 Tommy Fleetwood -2 19 -2 -4 15
T15 Gary Woodland -4 28 0 -4 T9
17 Jason Day 0 12 -3 -3 T17
18 Cameron Smith 2 10 -4 -2 T21
T19 Rickie Fowler 0 23 -1 -1 T17
T19 Hideki Matsuyama -1 27 0 -1 16
T21 Brooks Koepka 4 7 -4 0 T25
T21 Patrick Cantlay 2 16 -2 0 T21
T21 Marc Leishman 0 29 0 0 T17
T21 Patton Kizzire 0 30 0 0 T17
T25 Keegan Bradley 5 6 -4 1 T27
T25 Bubba Watson 5 8 -4 1 T27
T25 Francesco Molinari 4 13 -3 1 T25
T25 Kevin Na 2 22 -1 1 T21
29 Patrick Reed 8 15 -3 5 29
30 Phil Mickelson 11 14 -3 8 30


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About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]