By Derek Evers
Stenson's $10 Million to lose
Through nine holes on a rainy Saturday, Henrik Stenson built a nine-stroke lead over the most elite field in professional golf. By the time he finished, the Swede was "clinging" to a four-stroke advantage. To use a tired FedEx Cup cliche, once he hit 14-under with a tap-in birdie on the par-5 ninth, Stenson was in control of his own destiny. But he stumbled on the back with four bogeys and opened up a small window of opportunity for the talented group of players behind him. Still, it will be a monumental failure if he doesn't win the Cup, if not the Tour Championship, tomorrow at East Lake. Considering the player closest to him, Dustin Johnson, cannot overtake him in the points standings even with a win, Stenson essentially holds a seven-stroke lead over the closest player who can beat him outright -- Zach Johnson. This could all lead to a very strange finale if DJ and Stenson end up tied, with Stenson guaranteed the $10M purse before even starting a playoff.
Photos: Stan Badz/Getty Images (left); Sam Greenwood/Getty Images (right)
Let the Player of the Year debates begin
Without a double-major winner on tour, a five-win season and a No. 1 seed in the FedEx Cup points standings heading into the Tour Championship (not to mention No. 1 in the world) would normally be a lock for Player of the Year. Then again, when Tiger Woods is involved, nothing is normal. The argument could be made that Henrik Stenson is having the second-best season on Tour behind Woods, and by earning the FedEx Cup with dominating wins in two playoff events, it's understandable Stenson will garner some well-deserved votes. At the same time, Tiger's not helping his case sitting T-26 in a field of 30, and a disastrous third round seems to have sealed Masters champ Adam Scott's POY fate. Still, it's time we take a rational look at the events here with an objective, "anyone but Tiger" eye. That is, if it were anyone other than Tiger Woods, we'd be laughing at the notion of him losing the Player of the Year award to someone who hadn't won in 2013 until the third-to-last tournament of the season. The fact the POY is in question speaks more to the polarizing effect Tiger Woods has on the golf world, and less to do with who actually deserves it.
The rarest Tiger sighting of all time?
With a great 2013, Tiger Woods has once again claimed the enviable title of the world's best golfer. And even with a less-than-ideal season finale, he's almost guaranteed a runner-up finish in the FedEx Cup -- worth a cool $3 million. But let's just say what we're all thinking: It's strange to see Tiger Woods' name near the very bottom of the leader board. In fact, it's something we've only seen once before. Woods' worst finish as a pro in a tournament he made the cut was 18-over par at the 2010 Bridgestone Invitational, only better than three other players for a T-78 finish. Currently at T-26 through three rounds, Tiger is in the same predicament at East Lake. Yes, this is a small field, but without a cut line, if he falls any further down the leader board, we will witness something we've never seen in the Tiger Woods era. Incidentally, one of the three players who finished behind Woods at the 2010 Bridgestone was none other than Henrik Stenson.