- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 21, 2011

ATLANTA (AP) - Just being among the 30 players at the Tour Championship should be enough for Geoff Ogilvy.

Only 16 days ago, Ogilvy was on the verge of being eliminated from the FedEx Cup playoffs. Needing a par-birdie finish at the TPC Boston, his tee shot on the 17th hole finished in a crevice behind a rock and he had to take a penalty drop.

What followed is still hard to fathom.

Ogilvy rolled in a 20-footer for par, then holed a 6-foot birdie putt to narrowly advance to the next playoff event outside Chicago. Then, he finished alone in third at Cog Hill _ a two-way tie for third would not have been enough _ to book a trip to East Lake.

“I definitely wasn’t thinking of being here when I was in that hole,” Ogilvy said Wednesday. “So the fact that I am is pretty nice.”

He is No. 24 among the 30 players who reached the Tour Championship, and while mathematically they all have a shot at the $10 million bonus for winning the FedEx Cup, the higher seeds have the greater odds.

Webb Simpson is the top seed, followed by Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Luke Donald and Matt Kuchar. If any of them win, they are assured golf’s richest prize.

Ogilvy’s hopes require a little more math. It starts with him winning, and the odds got even longer the more he studied the other scenarios that must unfold.

“Webb Simpson must finish 17th or worse, which is probably not going to happen, you wouldn’t think,” he said, reading from a chart. “Dustin Johnson has to finish sixth or worse. Justin and Luke have to finish fourth or worse, which isn’t going to happen because Luke doesn’t finish out of the top three anymore, does he?”

That’s when he shifted to a prize that might be just as meaningful.

“I’d love to win this golf tournament,” Ogilvy said. “That would be nice because people are forgetting this one of the tour’s special golf tournaments _ The Players Championship, the Tour Championship, the Tournament of Champions. It’s still the Tour Championship, and it would be pretty special to have a Tour Championship on your mantle.

“I guess I’ll view it like that and try to win,” he said. “And if the right things happen, that would be great.”

The FedEx Cup is finishing up its fifth year, and while some promotional bluster created more skeptics than supporters in the early going, it is hard to find fault with what the playoffs have produced _ four straight tournaments with the strongest fields, with only the best walking away with the $10 million prize. Tiger Woods has won twice, with Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk the other cup champions.

“I think the system has been validated because it’s had the biggest names in golf as its champions,” Kuchar said.

The leading five candidates this year all are among the top 20 in the world, including top-ranked Donald.

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