FedExCup uncertainty for Furyk at East Lake
ATLANTA (Reuters) - Jim Furyk knows what it is like to clinch FedExCup honours but even he is not certain what he needs to do to repeat his 2010 triumph at this week's Tour Championship.
An elite field of 30 players will tee off in Thursday's opening round at East Lake Golf Club where the lucrative PGA Tour event is on the line along with a staggering $10 million bonus for securing the season-long playoff title.
Furyk landed both honours two years ago but this week he lies 18th in the FedExCup points standings and would need a lot of help from higher-ranked players to pull off a repeat double.
"Nope, I have no idea," the American told reporters on Tuesday when asked if he was fully versed in what he needed to do to emulate his 2010 FedExCup success. "I know I would have to win (the Tour Championship), and a lot of (other) things would have to happen. But I'm never really worried about that.
"I had two or three friends try to text me, 'do you know what you have to do?' No. It's hard enough winning a golf tournament. I can't control the rest."
For Furyk to complete the 'double' this week, he would need to win the Tour Championship and, among several other requirements, top-ranked Rory McIlroy would have to finish 12th or worse and second-ranked Tiger Woods fifth or worse.
"Two years ago I was (ranked) 11th (going into the Tour Championship) and needed a little work," added Furyk, who triumphed by one shot at East Lake in 2010. "But (this week) those top 10 to 12 guys probably have a really good opportunity.
"Then past that, it's going to take a lot of help because the guys that are up there at the top have been playing very well."
Any of the top five players in the standings would secure FedExCup honours by winning this week's Tour Championship - and that quintet comprises Northern Irishman McIlroy and Americans Woods, Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker.
"It's hard to imagine Rory not being in contention this week as well as he's been playing," Furyk said of the world number one who has claimed the last two playoff events.
"All we can do is really worry about our game and try to get ourselves in position to try to win a golf tournament this week."
McIlroy has never previously competed at East Lake but the game's leading player is oozing confidence after winning three times in his last four starts.
"I'm confident in my ability and confident with the shots that I'm hitting and confident on the greens," the 23-year-old said after triumphing by two shots at the BMW Championship in Carmel, Indiana, nine days ago.
"I'm making the right decisions out there, and everything is really just going to plan at the minute. It's a nice run to be on, and I want to try and keep it going for as long as possible.
"The last four weeks, five weeks have been incredible, some of the best golf that I've ever played."
Only 30 players have qualified for the last of the four playoff events after 125 started out at the Barclays tournament won by Watney at Bethpage Black last month.
Each of those 30 has a mathematical chance of winning the FedExCup, with the points having been reset since the BMW Championship. However that likelihood diminishes the lower down the standings the player lies going into this week's event.
American Scott Piercy, ranked 30th, needs to win the Tour Championship with overall points leader McIlroy finishing no better than 29th, along with several other scenarios.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Frank Pingue)
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