Justin Thomas now leads the FedEx Cup standings, after his victory at Medinah.
Tour Championship: PGA Tour season finale is ‘fascinating but contrived’
It is easy to scoff at the new format introduced to determine the destiny of the $15m PGA Tour play-off jackpot. Following Sunday’s BMW Championship victory at Medinah, Justin Thomas will start the season-ending Tour Championship at 10 under par, two strokes clear of Patrick Cantlay. The scoring is pure artifice. It merely reflects form over the two play-off tournaments leading into this week’s gathering in Atlanta, where the top 30 finishers on the PGA Tour compete against each other on an uneven playing field.
Thomas gets his head start despite a season he would, no doubt, be happy to swap with world number one Brooks Koepka, who won the PGA Championship and was runner-up in the Masters and US Open.
It is fair to conclude, the climax to the American golf season does not reflect performances in the tournaments that matter most. Koepka is third in the standings and has a starting score this week of seven under.
Rory McIlroy, the Players champion, Canadian Open winner and who recorded no fewer than 13 top-10 finishes this season, is only fifth in the standings. He starts at five under so five shots adrift of Thomas. This is the first time the winner of the season-ending Tour Championship is the guaranteed winner of the Fed-Ex Cup spoils. Last year Tiger Woods won the tournament while Justin Rose did enough to claim the play-off crown.
That is how it was for the previous 11 season finales, but it has been deemed a confusing scenario. This new format is supposed to provide a simpler narrative. It is, of course, too contrived for golfing purists to accept because it is quite possible for the title to go to someone who does not card the lowest score of the week.
This week’s Tour Championship cannot be an accurate reflection of the golfing year when Open winner Shane Lowry, the most dominant player at any of the year’s majors, fails to make the field. So the event at East Lake should be treated for what it is worth, a fascinating but contrived competition with massive money at stake. That’s about it.
Information and Image have been shared from an Article by Ian Carter, published at BBC Sports / Golf on August 18th, 2019. Image Credit: Getty Images, 2019.