FedEx Cup 2014: 7 Burning Questions Ahead of 3rd Week

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2014

FedEx Cup 2014: 7 Burning Questions Ahead of 3rd Week

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Following Chris Kirk's steely victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship, the FedEx Cup 2014 continues on. And as the top 70 golfers in the FedEx Cup standings prepare to tee it up at Cherry Hills for the BMW Championship, we're faced with a number of burning questions. 

    Many questions surround the caddie-scaring Rory McIlroy and the unimpressive-in-the-playoffs-thus-far Phil Mickelson

    What other questions are occupying the collective golfing conscious at the moment? 

    Click through to see. 

Will Rory McIlroy Get a Playoff Win?

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    It was always going to be impossible for Rory McIlroy to continue the brilliant form he displayed from The Open Championship through the PGA Championship.

    And certainly, playing five professional golf tournaments in seven weeks isn't the recipe for feeling rested and sharp on course...especially when you've jetted to the U.K. and back during that time and enjoyed a late night out or two. 

    It will be interesting to see if the boy wonder coasts into the Tour Championship, using whatever little gas he has left in the tank to make a run at capturing the FedEx Cup, or whether he's content to rest on his laurels, collect a pair of top-20 finishes and jet off to Scotland for the Ryder Cup. 

Will Phil Mickelson Finish Strong?

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    Mike Groll/Associated Press

    After a brilliant showing at the PGA Championship, Phil Mickelson has struggled in the first two playoff events.

    Presently, Lefty is 56th in the FedEx Cup standings. He didn't make the secondary cut at The Barclays and finished tied for 45th at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

    Not very impressive stuff from the 22-year veteran. 

    Mickelson will be a critical component of the U.S. Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles, so we (those of us in the U.S., anyway) have a national interest in his playing well in the final two tournaments of the FedEx Cup playoffs. 

Will Jimmy Walker Do Anything?

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    Stew Milne/Associated Press

    After sprinting out of the gate at the beginning of this wraparound season and leading the FedEx Cup for much of the year, Jimmy Walker has become something of a ghost, wandering fairways unseen in the latter portion of 2014.

    Walker's last win came at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am the first week of February. Since then, he hasn't exactly been playing poorly. He's recorded an additional six top-10 finishes and didn't finish worse than a tie for 26th in any of the majors. 

    Although the Oklahoma native missed the cut at The Barclays, he managed to tie for ninth at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Still, the question is raised: "Will Jimmy Walker win again this year?"

Which Ryder Cup Team's Players Will Enter the Competition in Better Form?

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    There are stages to the pre-Ryder Cup insanity. From the weekly check of the points standings to see which players fill the nine spots on each team to the endless debates about captain's picks, it's a long road to (in this case) Gleneagles. 

    Following the captain's picks and the official codification of Team USA and Team Europe, we'll next fixate on how the members of each team are playing entering the Ryder Cup. 

    Americans, of course, will hope that the likes of Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy can't find their games over the final two playoff events. Supporters of the European team will...well, they're probably not too worried about anything the U.S. squad is doing, really. 

What Will the Next Chapter Be in the Resurgence of Appleby and Ogilvy?

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    You've got to be curious to see how the recently resurgent Geoff Ogilvy and Stuart Appleby finish out these playoffs, right? Even with 17 PGA Tour wins between them, these guys were left for dead over the past few seasons.

    And through two FedEx Cup playoff events, it's really not clear which way things will go for the Australians. Each has a second-place finish and a missed cut.

    Thus, the BMW Championship will tip the scales one way or the other for the pair. 

Who Will Make a Massive Jump in the Rankings?

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    We've seen some giant jumps in the FedEx Cup standings through two playoff events. 

    Here's a sampling of some of the big moves we've seen so far: 

    • With his win at The Barclays, Hunter Mahan moved from 62 to 1.
    • Jason Day moved from 34 to 7 after finishing second at The Barclays.
    • Russell Henley moved from 62 to 14 after finishing tied for second at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
    • After finishing tied for second at The Barclays, Cameron Tringale jumped from 61 to 10.
    • Billy Horschel's tie for second at the Deutsche Bank Championship propelled him from 82 to 20.
    • Geoff Ogilvy jumped from 100 to 24 following his tie for second at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
    • Stuart Appleby vaulted from 98 to 19 after he tied for second at The Barclays.

    While it becomes more difficult to make significant moves the deeper we go into the playoffs, there will likely be golfers rising like the Colorado sun at Cherry Hills. Stay tuned to see which golfers avail themselves nicely. 

What's Tiger Woods Up To?

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    On the PGA Tour, the elephant in the room is a Tiger.

    For all of Tiger Woods' nearly 20 years on the PGA Tour, the golfer has been the center of attention. With the recent rise of Rory McIlroy, a bevy of young talent and a historically poor season from Woods in which he only teed it up a handful of times, the golfer is arguably as little discussed as he has ever been. 

    Still, golf fans in general, and the Tiger Woods faithful in particular, will find themselves wondering, "What exactly is Tiger Woods up to?"

    Of course, Tiger hasn't exactly been keeping a low profile since announcing he won't tee it up until his World Challenge the first week of December. Woods appeared on Jimmy Fallon's show with Rory McIlroy after a promotional launch for the new Nike irons. He attended his friend Notah Begay's charity event and was present at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

    Woods has always said he lives his life in a fishbowl. That won't change, even though he's 38, recovering from injury and playing the worst golf of his career this season.  

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