East Lake Golf Club will host this week's Tour Championship, which is the last of four PGA Tour FedEx Cup events. FedEx Cup playoffs reach final stop at Tour Championship

While almost all parties involved admit there needs to be some tweaks made next year, most agree that the FedEx Cup playoffs have accomplished the goal of garnering at least some post-majors interest in the PGA Tour.

"I think the most important thing from our perspective is, and always has been, is the FedExCup, and as a part of that, the playoffs, accomplishing what we set out to accomplish," PGA tour commissioner Tim Finchem told reporters Wednesday. "There has been a fair amount of focus on some details of the system or opinions about the system, whether it be from fans or players. That's great, and we think that's actually contributed to a lot more interest in what the FedEx Cup is all about."

The last of the FedEx Cup's four playoff events gets underway this week at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta in the Tour Championship. The event, which used to be played in late October, features the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings.

Of those 30 players, only six have a mathematical chance to win the $10 million deferred bonus. BMW Championship winner Tiger Woods has a 3,133-point lead over Steve Stricker, who won The Barclays and finished third in the BMW Championship, and a 4,120-point advantage over Phil Mickelson, who won the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Rory Sabbatini, K.J. Choi and Aaron Baddeley are also in the hunt, but Baddeley can only capture the Cup if he wins the Tour Championship and Woods withdraws or is disqualified. He would also need Mickelson to finish lower than a two-way tie for second and for Stricker to finisher lower than third.

There are several scenarios where Woods could win the FedEx Cup without winning the tournament championship. The world No. 1 player said the possibility that the Cup champion and the player of the year could be two different people doesn't bother him

"I think you've got to look at it as how other sports look at it," Woods told reporters. "It can be the best team of the season and still not win the championship. That's kind of how this playoff was kind of instituted.

"You can win 30 tournaments throughout the year and be player of the year, but you just don't get the FedExCup, you just didn't play well at the right time. That's the nature of how most sports are. I think we tried to emulate that in our sport."

Stricker said he's been pleased with how the FedEx Cup has worked out for him.

"I think it gives the opportunity to a lot more players entering this playoff system," Stricker told reporters. "I started this system, I think, 12th or 13th in points and moved up right away in contention for this whole thing, so I think it gives a lot more players the opportunity to do something special at the end of the year, and it adds a lot of interest to the game."

In that way, Stricker said, the FedEx Cup has been successful.

"It brings the fans back into it at a time of the year when the PGA is over, golf kind of disappears because of football, but yet we're still talking about this," Stricker said. "Great pairings the last few weeks with Phil and Tiger, so I think it has a lot of merit to it."

Finchem agrees.

"We're very pleased with the impact," he said.

Tour Championship

WHEN: Sept. 13-16
COURSE: Atlanta East Lake Golf Club (7,154 yards, par 70)
PURSE: $7 million (winner's share: $1.26 million)
FEDEX CUP POINTS: 50,000 (winner's share: 10,300)
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday, 1-6 p.m. EDT, 8:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. EDT; Friday, 1-6 p.m. EDT, 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. EDT; Saturday, 12:30-2 p.m. EDT; Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. EDT and NBC (Saturday, 2-6 p.m. EDT; Sunday, 2-6:30 p.m. EDT)

September 13, 2007

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