PGA Tour Standings 2019: How Can Tiger Woods Win the FedEx Cup?

Tiger Woods faces an uphill battle to be among the golfers who will compete in the Tour Championship next week. Only the top 30 golfers in the FedEx Cup standings qualify for the season-finale event in Atlanta, Georgia, next week.

Woods won the Tour Championship last year but dropped 10 spots to 38th in the standings following his withdrawal after the first round of The Northern Trust Open last week. The 15-time major winner shot a 4-over par 75 in the opening round, but retired with a mild oblique strain.

It capped a disastrous few months for Woods, who has been beset by back pain since he triumphed at The Masters in April. Following his success in Augusta, Georgia, Woods missed the cut at the PGA Championship, finished tied for 21st at the U.S. Open and then missed the cut at The Open Championship.

According to PGA Tour projections, Tiger will need to finish in the top 11 at this week's BMW Championship to make to East Lake next week.

Tiger Woods, BMW Championship
Tiger Woods of the USA in action during practice for the BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club on August 13 in Medinah, Illinois. Andrew Redington/Getty

The second event of a three-legged FedEx Cup playoffs gets underway on Thursday in Medinah, Illinois, a course that holds fond memories for Woods. He only decided to take part in the tournament on Tuesday morning.

"I feel good,'' he was quoted as saying by ESPN. "Feel a lot better than I felt last week. Felt good this morning, so I thought I'd give it a go.''

The 15-time major winner won his first PGA Championship crown in 1999, finishing one shot ahead of Sergio Garcia at 11-under par. Seven years later, he repeated the feat when he finished five shots clear of Shaun Micheel with a memorable 18-under par performance.

Woods is currently 1,977 points behind FedEx Cup leader Brooks Koepka. While the figure might hint at an insurmountable gap, it is not.

Patrick Reed climbed from 50th to second in the standings after winning The Northern Trust Open last week. The win at Liberty National in Jersey City, New Jersey, earned the 2018 Masters winner 2,000 points.

To put the figure into context, that is 200 points more than Woods, Koepka and Gary Woodland earned between the three of them for winning The Masters, PGA Championship and the U.S. Open.

Mexico's Abraham Ancer, who finished second, one shot adrift of Reed, picked up 1,200 points and jumped from 67th to eighth.

The winners of regular PGA Tour tournaments earn 500 points, while the winners of the majors and The Players Championship earn 600 points. The points at stake in the FedEx Cup playoffs, however, are multiplied by four and the standings can change quickly over the next two weeks.

Conversely, Justin Rose won the FedEx Cup last season without winning any of the playoffs events, as he had built up a large enough buffer earlier in the season.

Mathematically at least, Tiger still has a chance of ending 2019 on a high and qualifying for the Tour Championship.

While his recent form leaves a lot to be desired, the omens ahead of the BMW Championship are good as Woods has won the event five times—including twice in the FedExCup era in 2007 and 2009.

A sixth BMW Championship title would almost be as surprising as his success at The Masters.