124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

According to one statistician, there's a player in this week's field with a 0.0-percent chance of winning the FedEx Cup

September 23, 2015

What has to happen for Harris English, the last man into the field of 29 (Jim Furyk withdrew on Tuesday) at this week's Tour Championship, to win the FedEx Cup? Take a look at the (long) list of scenarios that all need to occur:


In the words of Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, "So you're telling me there's a chance. . ." Um, actually, no, says statistician Mark Broadie.

The Columbia Business School professor and author of the book, "Every Shot Counts," crunched the numbers and came up with the chances of winning the $10 million bonus and an extra shiny trophy for each golfer teeing it up at East Lake. According to Broadie, English has a 0.0 percent chance of getting it done even if he wins the Tour Championship (look at the table on the right).

As you can see, English isn't the only player in the field with a better chance of becoming FedEx's next CEO than the next FedEx Cup champ. Louis Oosthuizen at 0.2 percent and Sang-Moon Bae at 0.4 percent aren't far behind. But at least, according to Broadie, they have a chance. English? Nope.

On the flip side, we know the system is set up to guarantee anyone in the top 5 a FedEx Cup win with a Tour Championship win, but look at how quickly the chances of those outside the top 5 fall once you get past Charley Hoffman at No. 8 (78 percent). It drops to 64 percent for No. 9 Daniel Berger, then to 46 percent for No. 10 Patrick Reed, and then all the way down to 30 percent for No. 11 Rory McIlroy. The four-time major champ might really regret a few of those short misses at the BMW Championship come Sunday evening.

Back to English, the 26-year-old Georgia product had to make a 20-footer for birdie on the final hole of the BMW Championship and needed Kevin Na to hole a 10-footer for par minutes later just to stay inside the top 30. This after English missed out on making it to the final stage of the FedEx Cup Playoffs by a single shot the previous two years. Zero percent chance or not of winning the whole thing, we're pretty sure he's just happy to be teeing it up in his home state this week.