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The Barclays has Sergio Garcia and Nick Watney, with Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker making a run and boosting their hopes of getting picked for the Ryder Cup (they were). The Deutsche Bank Championship had McIlroy and Louis Oosthuizen, two of the best swings in the game, being chased by Tiger Woods, Mickelson, Johnson and Snedeker. The BMW Championship featured McIlroy, Westwood, Mickelson, Woods, Johnson, Adam Scott and Vijay Singh.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem woke up Sunday morning to find more than a dozen text messages on his phone, some filled with sarcasm about how this FedEx Cup thing isn’t working, others raving about three straight weeks of strong leaderboards and compelling finishes.

That much was to be expected this year.

One reason Hunter Mahan could win twice and still not qualify for the Ryder Cup is that all the other great players were winning, too. Maybe it’s a fluke, maybe it’s just cyclical, but this has been a year for the stars to shine on the PGA Tour. The 36 tournaments to date (not counting opposite-field events) have been won by 27 players who started the year in the top 50 of the world ranking.

The FedEx Cup playoffs have been no different. Bring the best players together and it produces the best leaderboard.

Not surprisingly, each event has felt big, especially the last one. Crooked Stick had not seen the world’s best players since the 1991 PGA Championship, and the result was predictable. Even during a soggy week, fans were three-deep down the 10th fairway when McIlroy and Woods (and Watney) teed off in the opening round Thursday.

It had a bigger buzz than the three World Golf Championships, and it held its own against the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, where the nines are separated by the driving range and fans can only watch from one side of the fairway on some holes.

Now for the conclusion next week at East Lake.

It could be dramatic, similar to when Bill Haas and Mahan were in a sudden-death playoff to determine who won the FedEx Cup. There might not be any drama at all during the last hour. Or it could be one of those years, like 2009, when Mickelson won the Tour Championship and Woods won the FedEx Cup.

“Let me see if I get this straight,” Mickelson said that day. “I shot 65 and he shot (70) and he gets a check for $10 million?”

Some confusion is inevitable when it takes an accountant to sort out who’s winning what. But when the golf is this good, when the leaderboards are this strong, does it really matter?