Tom Edrington - AHN Sports ReporterAtlanta, GA, United States (AHN) - The calculations for the FedEx Cup championship are a math excercise, for sure, but one certainty for the PGA Tour is that it will stage its grand finale, the Tour Championship, next week without the world's No. 1 player.
Tiger Woods won't be at East Lake to defend the FedEx Cup championship he won last year. The math just didn't shake out for him, he missed the top 30 last week at the BMW Championship, and he wasn't alone.
Rickie Fowler left Cog Hill figuring he had made it.
Fowler, one of Corey Pavin's captain's picks for the upcoming Ryder Cup, finished 32nd, behind Bill Haas, who ended up in the oh-so-close 31st spot. Last man in was Bo Van Pelt, lucky No. 30.
Fowler had good company. Rory McIlroy, the young Irish sensation didn't make it either, he finished 36th on the list, Stewart Cink, another Ryder Cup captain's pick, finished 38th.
The top dog, the No. 1 seed, the favorite at East Lake is Matt Kuchar, the Georgia Tech grad who lives only 20 minutes from East Lake and is glad to be home.
He fought a virus all last week that he caught from one of his children and at times, felt like he wasn't going to make it throught the BMW.
"Nice to be home, I'm looking forward to some rest," said Kuchar, who needed it. Still, he won't resist the temptation to perhaps sneak over to East Lake this week for some extra practice.
"There's a history there," Kuchar said of the well-known course. "It's a special place. Every time I go in the clubhouse I get goosebumps looking at all the Bobby Jones memorabilia. It's a fantastic place and the course is just a simple setup but it's a challenge at the same time."
Kuchar and the rest of the top five have the advantage next week. Points are reset but the positions are now. Dustin Johnson is in second, Charley Hoffman third, Steve Stricker fourth and Paul Casey fifth.
If any of those five win, they win the FedEx Cup and the $10 million that goes with it.
After that it becomes a points addition puzzle. The next five are Jason Day, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Martin Laird and Phil Mickelson. They have a good chance to take the cup if they win, but not a guarantee.
But the fact is that one must be there to have a chance and Woods is not.
He'll continue to work on his swing changes. It's been a difficult proposition at best for him to work on them while he was competing three weeks in a row, trying to make it to Atlanta.
Last Sunday he had a pairing with Mickelson, who got a first hand look at Woods' progress with his swing changes.
"His game is not far off at all," Mickelson said after his final round in the BMW with Woods. "It looked very close to being right there."
Unfortunately, Woods will not be "right there" at East Lake.
It's Mickelson, Kuchar and the other 38 players honing in on the big one.
It's not a major but with $10 million awaiting the winner, that's probably close enough.
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