ATLANTA, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- The most lucrative prize in golf will be at stake beginning Thursday with the playing of first round of the Tour Championship.
There are 30 players left to compete for FedEx Cup, the trophy that goes to the winner of the PGA Tour's yearlong points race. In addition to the hardware, the cup winner will receive $10 million.
The points will be rearranged for this week's tournament so any of the first five on the list can win the FedEx Cup with a victory at the Tour Championship -- which for the eighth consecutive year and for the 11th time overall will be held at the East Lake Golf Club near downtown Atlanta.
The five points leaders through the first three playoff tournaments are Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Luke Donald and Matt Kuchar. All 30 players have a mathematical chance to win the $10 million.
Jim Furyk went into the Tour Championship in 12th place on the points list last year and wound up winning the tournament and the FedEx Cup as well. Matt Kuchar, who led the points going into the event last year, wound up in a tie for 25th and dropped to second behind Furyk in the overall race.
Dustin Johnson, is second on the points list -- just as he was going into the final event in 2010, when he tied for 22nd in the Tour Championship and fell to fifth in the FedEx Cup competition.
Surprises, therefore, can take place. That gives hope to Brandt Snedeker, Nick Watney, Chez Reavie, John Senden, Jason Day, Gary Woodland and Steve Stricker -- who take up the sixth through 12th spots on the points list. Furyk failed to climb into the top 30 last week at the BMW Championship and will not have a chance to defend his title.
The first ball of the tournament will be struck at 11:35 a.m. EDT by Bo Van Pelt, who is last in points among those playing this week. Simpson and Johnson will make up the final first-round pairing at 1:55 p.m.
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