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‘Dawgs on Tour: Championship Edition!!

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There can be only one. Winner of the season-long FedEx Cup race, that is. With $60 million in bonus prize money, this tourney has everyone’s attention.

Deutsche Bank Championship - Round One
Oooo - watch me, watch me!
Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

Tournament: The Tour Championship, September 22-25

Course: East Lake GC, Atlanta. 7,385 yards, par 70.

Purse: $8,500,000 • Winning Share: $1,530,000. Oh, and if you win the FedEx Cup, regardless of winning this singular tournament, you get $10 million. Yep, $10 million.

Defending Champion: Jordan Spieth. Having already won the Masters and US Open in 2015, Spieth appeared a bit shaky as the season wound down, but won this tourney and thus won the FedEx Cup as well (he won five times including those majors, so he was in good shape to win it all), and he received the $10 million bonus.

Fun Fact: This is the 10th year of the FedEx Cup, and they commissioned a trophy for the winner. In the inaugural year, they promoted the new FedEx Cup format by saying the brand-new trophy had “never been kissed,” playing on the oft-seen image of winners gleefully kissing the trophy bestowed upon them. Tiger Woods won the trophy, and promptly thumbed his nose at commissioner Tim Finchem by purposely not kissing said trophy.

Television: Thursday-Friday, 1-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 10 a.m.-noon (GC), noon-3:30 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, noon-1:30 p.m. (GC), 1:30-6 p.m. (NBC).

Former 'Dawgs in the Field (Two): Bubba Watson and Kevin Kisner.

So we’re at the finale of the PGA Tour wrap-around season, and the playoffs have whittled the field down to 30. Of those, 2 are Bulldogs (and one once was).

Kevin Kisner actually led the FedEx points list starting last November through about March, but eventually was passed as the season got going in earnest. He’s still #19, while Bubba Watson is #24.

The point format was created so that anyone in the top five entering the Tour Championship will win the FedEx Cup if they win the Tour Championship, no matter the finish of other players. This was in direct response to the early years in which the eventual winner of the FedEx Cup had accumulated enough points so as to merely tee it up in the Tour Championship and would mathematically win the whole shebang. To prevent this boring scenario and add some late season drama, they changed the awarding of points and inserted this formula whereby the top 5 in points must still try hard to win the $10 million bonus, and it has paid off in recent years.

Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott, Jason Day, and Paul Casey are the respective top 5 and thus have the easiest road to the bonus. And any of them may still win the bonus even if they don’t win this tournament, but there is serious math involved. I won’t bore you with all 30 winning scenarios, but below is what must happen for our ‘Dawgs to win the single biggest money prize in individual sports:

Kevin Kisner Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish T12 or worse
• No. 2 must finish fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish in a 3-way tie for third or worse
• No. 4 must finish third or worse
• No. 5 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 6 must finish T2 or worse

Bubba Watson Must win the TOUR Championship, AND
• No. 1 must finish 17th or worse (which would force a sudden-death playoff)
• No. 2 must finish in a 3-way tie for fifth or worse
• No. 3 must finish in a 3-way tie for third or worse
• No. 4 must finish T3 or worse
• No. 5 must finish in a 3-way tie for second or worse
• No. 6 must finish T2 or worse

As you can see, it’s about finishing higher than the guys in front of you, and it’s making sure the top 5 don’t smell the highest spot on the leaderboard. And if that’s not enough to play for, Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III will make his final selection for the 2016 US Ryder Cup team following the tournament’s conclusion. Bubba seems like the chalk pick, but he hasn’t had a top 10 finish in several months and his putting isn’t that great. Kisner probably doesn’t get consideration, as veteran Jim Furyk has been hot of late (shot 58 last month), and rookie Daniel Berger has been playing lights out.

So if you want to escape Greg McElroy’s modulating hairline and football analysis, check out Golf Channel for the early action Thursday and Friday. And if you want to escape all things football Sunday because of what happened in Oxford, check out Golf Channel and NBC for the culmination of 40+ tournaments and several hundred million dollars in prize money just for chasing a little white ball. And as always….

GO ‘DAWGS!!!