Tag: FedEx Cup

Scottie and Rory: PGA Tour’s Best in 2022

Scottie and Rory: Going Head-to-Head

Scottie Scheffler took home the Jack Nicklaus award as PGA Tour Player of the Year for 2022, and it was certainly well deserved after such a fantastic season—but it was definately not a “slam dunk” as some are saying. When you take a close look at the season Rory McIlroy put together, you pretty much need a razor blade to separate them.

The Majors

Scheffler’s win at The Masters was a brilliant performance, but keep in mind that Rory finished runner-up at Augusta with a magnificent final round 64 (a shot off the lowest rounds ever recorded at The Masters—63 by Nick Price in ’86 and again by Greg Norman in ’96).

Scottie also had a superb run at the 2022 U.S. Open, finishing a shot behind Matthew Fitzpatrick for runner-up. But remember that Rory was also among the leaders at The Country Club on Sunday afternoon, finishing with a T5.

Scottie Scheffler: 2022 Masters Champion

And while Scottie missed the cut at the PGA Championship, and was outside the top 20 at The Open Championship, Rory recorded a Top 10 at the PGA (8th) and finished 3rd at The Open.

In 16 rounds at the major championships in 2022, Rory recorded 9 rounds under 70 with a scoring average of 69.2, while Scottie recorded 7 rounds under 70 with a scoring average of 69.7.

Although Rory was unable to record a major win in 2022, finishing in the top 10 at all four majors is a rarely accomplished feat. Tiger did it in 2000 when he recorded a T5 at The Masters and then won the other 3 major championships. Jack did it 3 times (1971, 1973, 1974), Brooks Koepka did it in his fantastic 2019 season (win at the PGA, 2nd at the U.S. Open, T2 at The Masters and a T4 at The Open Championship) and Rickie Fowler recorded Top-5 finishes at all four majors in 2014 (including runner-up at the U.S. Open and The Open Championship).

Scottie gets the edge with a major win and a runner-up, but Rory had one of the most outstanding major championship seasons on record—so it’s pretty darn close.

McIlroy: Leads Tour in Scoring

The Tour Season

In addition to his Masters win, Scheffler recorded 3 regular tour wins (including the WGC Match Play Championship). McIlroy also recorded 3 regular season wins, including the Tour Championship. Rory made the cut in 14 of the 16 events he played in 2022 (88%) and recorded 10 Top 10 finishes (63%), while Scottie made the cut in 21 of 25 events (84%) with 11 Top-10’s (44%).

Scheffler: 3 Tours wins and Major Championship

From a performance standpoint, Rory led the Tour in scoring average at 68.7 and he was 2nd in driving distance at 321.3. Scottie was fourth in scoring average at 69.3 and 19th in driving distance at 311.6—but Scheffler was #1 in greens in regulation (72.3%) while Rory was #12 at 69.9 %.

Scheffler also recorded 3 regular season runner-up finishes—a T2 at the Houston Open, 2nd at the Charles Schwab Challenge and a T2 at the Tour Championship).

Both Scottie and Rory had phenomenal regular seasons on Tour, and from the numbers it looks pretty much like a flat-footed tie.

The FedEx Cup

Scottie Scheffler was No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings going into the Tour Championship, so under the new format he began the tournament at -10, six shots ahead of Rory who was No. 7 and began at -4.

Scheffler and McIlroy played flawless golf through the first 3 rounds, and both were -13 going into Sunday’s final round—but Scottie still held a six-shot advantage due to the FedEx standings adjustment (Scheffler was -23 and Rory was at -17).

Although Rory wasn’t able to put four fantastic rounds together at any of the 2022 major championships, he put the hammer down at the Tour Championship and fired a closing 66 to finish at -17 (21 under total with the adjustment). When Scheffler faltered with a final round 73 (20 under total), McIlroy had erased the massive deficit to take the championship—and also the FedEx Cup for a record third time.

McIlroy: Wins Tour Championship and FedEx Cup

The Wrap Up

Scottie Scheffler had a great year in 2022, and he will be a force to reckon with on the PGA Tour for many years to come. His win at The Masters, strong showing at the U.S. Open, and consistent performance throughout the year make it hard to argue with his choice as Player of the Year.

With his impressive comeback victory at the Tour Championship and third FedEx Cup, however, McIlroy closed the gap with Scottie to a photo finish—and most certainly not a Scheffler “slam dunk” as some are saying.

Rory played only 16 events on the PGA Tour in 2022 (he also played 2 on the DP World Tour, finishing 3rd at the Dubai Desert Classic and runner-up at the BMW PGA Championship), while Scottie played 25 Tour events, and that also moves the needle a bit more toward Scheffler—but we think Rory edged him by a nose with his third FedEx Cup.

One thing is for sure, the 2022-2023 PGA Tour season (and major championships) are going to be pretty exciting with Scottie and Rory going head-to-head.

When you put Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantley, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Jordan Spieth and Tony Finau into the mix, and then top it off with young stars like Sungjae Im, Cameron Young, Will Zalatoris and Victor Hoveland—2023 is shaping up to be one heck of a year on the PGA Tour.

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2023 PGA Tour Power Ranking

Through The Tour Championship (August 28, 2023)

East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta GA
Victor Hoveland: 2023 FedEx Cup Champion

Top 25

26-50

51-75

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Tony Finau Goes Back-To-Back

Tony Finau: Back-To-Back wins at 3M and Rocket Mortgage

Tony Finau cruised to victory last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, giving him back-to-back wins after his dominant performance at the 3M Open the previous week. His latest win (and 4th on tour), included rounds of 64, 66, 65 and 67—5 shots clear of the field, and a new tournament record score of 26 under par.

It’s been 3 years since anyone has won consecutive events on the PGA Tour (Brendon Todd did it back in 2019), and Tony’s accomplishment couldn’t have come at two courses that were less alike. The venerable Detroit Golf Club (Rocket Mortgage) was founded back in 1899 and features a classic Donald Ross design, while TPC Twin Cities (3M) is an extremely demanding Palmer design built in 2000. That tells you Finau can win anywhere, on any track, when he’s driving the ball consistently and making a few putts—because there are not many on Tour with his kind of power.    

Detroit Golf: Donald Ross Design

Breaking the Jinx

Since Tony’s first full season back in 2014-15, he’s been among the best on tour, making the cut in almost 80% of the tournaments he enters, while averaging 7 Top 10’s a year (and he’s recorded 10 Top 10’s at the major championships). But wins had been illusive—until now. Some believed it was due to the Puerto Rico Open jinx (Tony’s first Tour win was in Puerto Rico), because for a long time only Michael Bradley (the ’09 winner) was able to win again on tour after winning there (and his only other win was in Puerto Rico in 2011). Victor Hoveland (the 2020 winner) first dispelled the jinx by adding a win in 2021 at Mayakoba, and then Tony broke the jinx as well with his win at the Northern Trust in 2021—but notching two wins in a row should put an end to the jinx forever.

The Early Years

Tony was born on September 14, 1989 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and golf first grabbed his attention when he was 7 years old and Tiger burst onto the scene, winning 2 of the first 8 tournaments he entered. Picking up a copy of Nicklaus’ “Golf My Way,” he and his father (who had no knowledge of golf) set about learning the fundamentals of the game. His talent became immediately apparent, and with the support of his mom and dad he played junior tournaments throughout the state, ultimately winning the 2006 Utah State Amateur Championship at just 16 years old.

Big Break: Tony 2014
Golf Channel ( https://www.golfchannel.com/)

Although he was offered scholarships to play college golf at Stanford and BYU, and he was sought after to play basketball at Utah State and Webber State, Tony decided to turn pro at 18 and began playing various mini-tour events to get right into the action. In 2009 Finau got his first break—literally—when he landed a place on Golf Channel’s hit show “Big Break.” Although he finished second, golf fans were able to get their first look at Tony’s immense power—and with his grit and determination, it was only a matter of time before he would bring his talent to the PGA Tour.

In 2011, however, Tony’s golf career was put on hold when his mother was tragically killed in an automobile accident. Raised in a close-knit family, the loss of his mother hit him hard and it was almost a year before he could resume competitive golf.

Tony Overcomes Tragedy
Childhood Biography (https://childhoodbiography.com/)

By 2013 he was back, competing on the Canadian Tour where he made the cut in 7 of 8 events including 2 Top 10’s. And in 2014 he qualified for the Korn Ferry Tour, making the cut in 19 of 23 events with 5 Top 10’s including a win—and earned his PGA Tour card for the 2014-2015 season.

PGA Tour

In his first year on Tour Tony racked up 5 Top-10 finishes, including a T10 at the PGA Championship and a T8 at The Memorial. In 2016 he recorded his first win at the Puerto Rico Open, and in 2017 Tony made the cut in 24 of 29 events with 8 Top-10’s and the first of his 5 consecutive trips to the Tour Championship (where he finished with a T7).

Perhaps one of the most defining moments of Tony’s career came at the 2018 Masters, when he dislocated his ankle following an ace at the par 3 tournament on Wednesday, popped it back in, and proceeded to record a T10 with a closing 66 on a purple foot that looked like something from a horror film. At the 2019 Masters Tony shared the 54 lead and played in the final group with Tiger, fulfilling a life-long dream while getting a front row seat of history in the making, as Woods recorded his 15th major championship victory (Tony played well amid the frenzied gallery, posting a final round 72 while finishing 2 stokes back for a T5).

2018 Masters: Tough as Nails

With his back-to-back wins Finau has moved to No. 13 in the World Golf Rankings, and his game could not have rounded into top form at a better time as the FedEx Cup playoffs get under way in two weeks. Tony has made it clear that he has no intention of jumping at the money offered by LIV, and with nearly $3 million in earnings from the last two weeks alone, its seems that his decision was sound from a financial standpoint as well.

Finau Ready for FedEx Cup Run

Tony now holds the No. 7 position in the FedEx Cup standings, just behind Rory McIlroy, and the way he’s playing it would be a surprise if he didn’t move up even further—with the $18 million first place check waiting at the end of the rainbow.

And it couldn’t happen for a more deserving young man.

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2020 BMW and The Tour Championship Preview

East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta GA

The BMW Championship Wrap-Up

Last week concluded the BMW Championship, the final event leading up to the Tour Championship this weekend—and what a way to head into the final week of the PGA season. The back nine battle on Sunday between Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau was every bit as thrilling as “The Duel in Sun” between Jack and Tom Watson at Turnberry back in ’77, or the epic struggle between Phil and Henrik Stenson in the final round of the 2016 Open Championship. Cantlay and DeChambeau began the day tied for the lead, and it ended the same way as they each fired sizzling rounds of 66 and went to a playoff. Bryson ramped up the pressure throughout with titanic bombs off the tee, while Cantlay countered with steely discipline and tremendous nerve, making clutch putt after clutch putt. On the par 5 sixteenth, DeChambeau took a one-shot lead after making birdie, and on the par 3 seventeenth it looked like Cantlay was finished when his tee shot found the water. But he refused to quit, getting up and down from a hundred yards by canning yet another huge putt to stay within a shot after Bryson hit a poor chip and failed to convert his putt for par. On the eighteenth, Cantlay dug deep yet again, knocking in a twenty-foot birdie putt to force a playoff.  It took six holes of pressure packed thrills, but Patrick finally prevailed. With the win, Cantlay sits atop the FedEx Cup standings, just ahead of Tony Finau. It would seem too much to ask for another finish like this one, but with the cast of heavyweights who will be teeing it up at East Lake, anything can happen.

The Tour Championship

Today marks the first round of the season ending Tour Championship at famed East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. The tournament was founded in 1987, and was originally played in November. However, in 2007 with the establishment of the FedEx Cup, the tournament was moved up to September. The field includes the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup points standings, and because of a format change adopted in 2019, Patrick Cantlay will start the tournament at -10, based on finishing first in the FedEx Cup point standings. Tony Finau, at second, will be starting at -8, while Bryson DeChambeau, sitting at number 3, will start at -7 and so on down to the last five players in the standings who will start at even par. Historically, the Tour Championship was structured such that a player could win the Tour Championship, but not win the FedEx Cup. The change in format now means that the winner of the Tour Championship will also take home the FedEx Cup (along with the $15 million that comes with it). With such a fantastic lead-up to the main event, it appears the PGA Tour season is headed for a final weekend of pure excitement—so don’t miss a minute.

The Course

East Lake Golf Club was founded in 1908, originally designed by Tom Bendelow, and remodeled by Donald Ross in 1913. The course was later updated by George Cobb and most recently by Reese Jones in 1994. In addition to the Tour Championship, the home course of the legendary Bobby Jones has hosted many prestigious championships over the years, including the 1950 U.S. Women’s Amateur, the 1963 Ryder Cup and the 2001 U.S. Amateur. With a USGA course rating of 76.2 and slope rating of 144, East Lake is a fitting test to crown the FedEx Cup champion each year.

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2021 BMW Championship and the FedEx Cup

The BMW Championship at the Caves Valley Golf Club
BMW Championship, at the Caves Valley Golf Club MD

The Northern Trust Wrap-Up

Last week concluded The Northern Trust, the first leg in the 2021 FedEx Cup playoffs. Tropical storm Henri made Sunday a washout at Liberty National, so the final round was pushed back to Monday—and it was a big day for Tony Finau. He finally broke his five-year winless drought by outlasting 28-year-old Australian, Cameron Smith, in a hard-fought playoff that lasted four holes. Known for his prodigious length, Finau has been steadily climbing into the ranks of golf’s elite since recording 16 top 25’s in his first full year on tour back in 2015, and following that up with his first win at the Puerto Rico Open in 2016. Although he recorded 32 top 10 finishes from 2017 through 2020, that second victory eluded him. This year Tony’s been knocking even harder on the door, with 8 more top 10’s, including a runner-up at the Genesis (where he lost in a playoff with Max Homa), a 10th at the Masters and an 8th place finish at the PGA. He also recorded a solid 15th place finish at The Open Championship. With the win at the Northern Trust, Finau has vaulted all the way to number 1 in the FedEx Cup standings, 600 points ahead of Jon Rahm. He certainly has the talent, so perhaps this victory will give Tony the confidence to muscle his way all the way to the top and lift the FedEx Cup—we will sure be pulling for him.

BMW Championship

The BMW Championship at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, MD is the second leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs. The top 70 players in the standings are competing for a place among the 30 player Tour Championship field at East Lake Golf Club next week, with millions of dollars on the line, so hang on to your hat this weekend as the best players in world put the pedal to the metal. In addition to the red hot Finau, an equally blazing hot Jon Rahm will be vying to recapture the top spot. Then add two-time major champion Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Bryson Dechambeau, Hideki Matsuyama, and Justin Thomas to the mix. And don’t forget about Jordan Spieth, who’s having a spectacular year and would like nothing more than to cap it off with the FedEx Cup. And then there’s Dustin Johnson, who could more than salvage a dismal season (by Dustin Johnson standards) with two solid weeks of playing the way everyone expects him to. And perhaps Phil can pull another golden rabbit out of his hat? One thing’s for sure, this is going to be one heck of a weekend to watch golf.

The FedEx Cup

The FedEx Cup playoffs began in 2007, and was originally comprised of four tournaments. Beginning in 2018, the playoff series was shortened to three events. The playoffs are structured where throughout the tour season a player is awarded 500 points for each regular season tour win. Players are awarded 2000 points for a FedEx Cup playoff win, 550 points for a World Golf Championship, 600 points for a Major or the Players Championship, and 300 points for a tournament played alternately during a major or World Golf Event. The playoffs begin with the top 125 players competing at the Northern Trust, reducing to 70 for the BMW Championship, and finally down to 30 for the Tour Championship. Right now, Tony Finau leads the race with 3,348, with Jon Rahm on his heels at 2,763 points. Cameron Smith, Patrick Cantley, and Justin Thomas make up the 3,4, and 5 positions in the standings, with dozens of other top tier players within striking distance.

The Course

The BMW Championship is being hosted at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland. Caves Valley was established in 1991, and designed by legendary course architect, Tom Fazio. Although this is the first PGA Tour event held at Caves Valley, the club has hosted a number of prestigious tournaments in the past, including the U.S. Senior Open in 2002, the LPGA Tour’s International Crown tournament in 2014, the 2017 Constellation Senior Players Championship, as well as the 1995 U.S. Mid-Amateur, and the 2007 Palmer Cup. Caves Valley carries a 76.9 USGA rating with a slope of 141 from the championship tees.

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Tour Update and the 2020 BMW Championship Preview

Olympia Fields Country Club, Illinois

Northern Trust Wrap-Up

Dustin Johnson sailed to an easy victory last week at the Northern Trust (his 22nd win on the PGA Tour). DJ was 30 under par for the week, and won with an astounding margin of 11 shots over runner-up, Harris English. The win propelled him to the top of the FedEx Cup standings, 92 points ahead of Justin Thomas and also placed him back atop the Word Golf Rankings, moving past John Rahm. Dustin was showing signs that his game was rounding into form, and after his disappointing finish at the PGA Championship, it was great to see it all come together (particularly in light of the rather prickly remarks that Brooks Koepka aimed at him a few weeks back.) As the FedEx Cup stands now, Johnson, Thomas, and Simpson remain the top three, but Daniel Berger has picked up some ground after a solid 3rd place finish this week.

BMW Championship

This Thursday marks the start of the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields in Illinois—the second leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs. There will be a few conspicuously missing stars this week as the playoff field is reduced to the top 70 in the standings. In addition to Phil, big names who failed to qualify include Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth. With the depth of talent currently on tour, however, there will still be plenty of fireworks with Tiger, DJ, Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau teeing it up against young guns Collin Morikawa, Scottie Scheffler and Victor Hovland. Both Tiger and Rory each commented on the difficulty of playing without the energy of a huge gallery, but perhaps the presence of these young phenoms will give them a little extra juice—we’ll see.

The Course

The BMW Championship is played at multiple venues on a rotating basis, much like the Northern Trust. The north course at Olympia Fields Country Club, about a half hour south of Chicago, will host this year’s event for the first time in its history. Olympia Fields was founded in 1915 and boasts two magnificent eighteen- hole layouts (The North and The South). Each course was originally designed by a legendary architect (Willie Park, Jr designed the North and Tom Bendelow designed the South). Having hosted four major championships, (two PGA’s and two U.S. Open’s), as well as the 2015 U.S. Amateur, the 1997 U.S. Senior Open and the 2017 Women’s PGA Championship, Olympia Fields has a rich history and will provide a wonderful test for the players at this week’s championship. Other venues for the BMW Championship include Cog Hill Golf & Country Club (07, 09, 10, 11), Bellerive Country Club (08), Crooked Stick Golf Club (12, 16, 17), Conway Farms Golf Club (13, 15), Cherry Hills Country Club (14), Aronimink Golf Club (18), and Medinah Country Club (19).

Get the course details at GolfDay.

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2020 Northern Trust and the FedEx Cup

TPC Boston, MA

It seems like just yesterday the PGA Tour returned to our television sets, and yet the first week of the FedEx Cup playoffs is suddenly here. The playoffs are the most exciting weeks on the PGA Tour, including three tournaments with the field being reduced after each event until the FedEx Cup champion is crowned. Right now, Justin Thomas is leading with 2,458 points, although top players like Collin Morikawa, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy, and Jon Rahm are hot on his heels. I think it’s safe to say that the next few weeks will be exciting as we cap off the end of the 2019-20 season.

Wyndham Championship Wrap-Up

Last week concluded The Wyndham Championship, and it was a true nail biter. Former club-pro Jim Herman fired a final round 63 to hold off Billy Horschell by one shot. With all of the young guns on tour these days, it was nice to see a veteran underdog topple one of the big names in golf. The win was Herman’s third victory on the PGA Tour, and it landed him a spot in the FedEx Cup playoffs, rocketing from 192 to 54th in the standings. Jim’s success on the tour is a great story. Originally an assistant pro at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster New Jersey, Trump convinced Herman to give it a shot on the tour—and it has paid off for Jim in a big way. Hopefully he can have another strong showing at the Northern Trust this week, and he should be brimming with confidence after finishing the Windham with rounds of 61 and 63.

The Northern Trust

The Field

As expected, the field for the first event of the FedEx playoffs is packed with top-rated players including Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, and the new PGA Champion Collin Morikawa. Conspicuously absent from the field is Brooks Koepka, who withdraw due to a knee injury that has bothered him throughout the season. Since Koepka was sitting at 97 in the standings, the withdrawal means that his season is over—although he has every intention of teeing it up for the U.S. Open at Winged Foot that was re-scheduled to September (now technically part of the 2021 season after the postponement). Tiger is in the field this week, and it will be interesting to see how he rebounds after his poor showing at the PGA Championship. The Northern Trust is going to be make or break for many in the field, so we can expect some pretty aggressive play.

The Event

The Northern Trust is played at various venues on a rotating basis (Ridgewood Country Club-NJ, Liberty National-NJ, Bethpage State Park-NY) and TPC Boston was added to host the 2020 championship. TPC Boston was originally designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay in 2002, and subsequently updated and enhanced by Gil Hanse and Brad Faxon. A par 71 eighteen-hole layout, the course is a stiff test of golf with a USGA course rating of 77.2 and a slope of 154.

History

The championship was originally held at Westchester Country Club in New York, and known for many years as the Westchester Classic. It was also traditionally played in June, either the week before or after the U.S. Open. In 2007 the tournament was rescheduled for August and incorporated as the first leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Northern Trust became the title sponsor in 2017.

Get detailed course information from GolfDay.

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Tiger, Jack and The 2020 Memorial

The Memorial Tournament starts this week at the Muirfiekd Village Golf Club
Muirfield Village Golf Club
July 16, 2020

Tiger and Jack

The Memorial Tournament starts this week, and as we mentioned in our last blog, this will be Tiger’s first start since the tour suspended play for COVID-19. This week will also provide an opportunity for Tiger to break Sam Snead’s record for PGA Tour wins (they are tied at 82). Other than perhaps Augusta National, it’s hard to think of a better place for Tiger to break Snead’s record than Muirfield Village. Earlier in the week Tiger dispelled rumors that his extended absence may have been due to his back, stating “I just felt it was better to stay at home and be safe.” Something tells me he will have his A-game on display this week, so this star-studded field will have to do some playing if they want to delay the inevitable.

Between the two them, Tiger and Jack occupy a pretty hefty chunk of the record book while dominating their respective era. A few of Tiger’s more illustrious records include winning four majors in a row (tying Bobby Jones), most consecutive cuts made (142), and most victories in a single PGA event (8 times at Bay Hill). He also won the Vardon Trophy for lowest season scoring average a record 8 times, with the best ever recorded of 68.17 in 2000, when he won 9 times. At 24, Tiger was the youngest player in history to complete the career grand slam, and also holds the record for most World Golf Championship victories (18). Jack, of course, holds the most prestigious record of all with 18 major victories, but Tiger’s resurgence has suddenly brought it once again within his reach (with the addition of the 2019 Masters, Tiger now has 15 major championships). Jack’s over-all record at the majors is truly eye-popping; however, when you consider that in addition to the 18 wins he also recorded 19 runner-up finishes and was among the top 3 an astounding 48 times. Seeing Jack and Tiger together at the Memorial is an opportunity to witness golf history as it unfolds—and you definitely do not want to miss a minute of it.

WorkDay Charity wrap-up

Last week’s WorkDay Charity Open proved to be yet another exciting finish. Young phenom Collin Morikawa was able to take down Justin Thomas in a playoff thriller and move all the way up to Number 6 in the FedEx cup point standings. Although it was a tough loss, the runner-up finish was more than enough to propel Thomas past Webb Simpson and assume the lead in FedEx points, and also move him ahead of Dustin Johnson to Number 3 in the World Golf Rankings. Young Viktor Hovland also came close, but his hopes were dashed when his ball found water on the 14th hole. The young Norwegian has led the tour in strokes gained tee to green in each of the last three tournaments, and no one has ever done that before, so it’s a good bet he will notch his second tour victory sooner rather than later.

The Memorial

Jack has Muirfield Village set up to play a lot tougher for the Memorial than it was at the WorkDay last week (not that it was easy by any means). First of all, the greens will be far quicker, running between 13 and 13.5 on the stimpmeter (they were at 11 for the WorkDay). In addition, the tees will be pushed back a bit (particularly at the drivable par 4 14th hole), and the mowers will spend less time keeping the thick rough in check. Fast and firm greens with heavy rough are a recipe for high scores, and even such a deep and talented field will have a difficult time going low—exactly the way Jack wants it to be. When you put Tiger together with Jack and Muirfield Village, what could be better.

Explore all your favorite golf courses with GolfDay.

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FedEx Cup Playoff Update

East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, GA
July 12, 2020

We are well into July, and although the long lay-off makes it feel like the PGA season only just began, the FedEx Cup playoffs are right around the corner. A number of youngsters have burst onto the scene in a big way, and this year looks to be the most exciting run to the tour championship and $15 million dollar FedEx Cup purse ever.

Currently Webb Simpson is the leader, with 1,660 points on the strength of 6 top ten’s, including two wins in 2019-2020 wrap-around season. After reaching the pinnacle of professional golf with a win at the 2012 US Open, the putter he used to get him there was removed from his bag when the Tour announced in 2013 that “Anchored Putters” would no longer be allowed beginning with the 2016 season. Simpson had to re-build his putting stroke, and even more importantly, his confidence, but it appears that all of his hard work has him ready to add another major to his resume—and perhaps the FedEx Cup as well. Justin Thomas is hot on his heels with 1,543 points. Thomas has recorded 5 top-10’s with two wins thus far, and charged to the third-round lead at the Workday Open at Muirfield Village with consecutive 66’s (he shot 68 in the opening round). With Simpson taking this week off, Thomas can move into the FedEx Cup point lead by finishing 4th or better. At number 3 is Sungjae Im, a 22 year old from the Republic of Korea, who won the Honda and followed that up with a top-5 at Bay Hill just before the suspension of play. Im recorded a top-10 at the Charles Schwab Challenge when play resumed at Colonial in June. In 4th place is Bryson DeChambou (“The Mad Scientist”), who bombed the field with 350 plus yard drives at Detroit Golf Club to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic last week. Rory McIlroy is lurking at number 5, with a win and 6 top-10 finishes. While Rory has gotten off to a bit of a slow start since play resumed, expect him to make a charge beginning at the Memorial next week with Tiger in the field. Patrick Reed, dubbed “Captain America” for his gritty play at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, sits just behind McIlroy at number 6. Reed has a win (WGC-Mexico) and 4 top-10’s thus far in the 2019-2020 campaign.

Young Guns

Coming into this week, twenty-one-year-old Californian Colin Morikawa stood at 21st in the FedEx standings, and precision iron play reminiscent of Johnny Miller have him only 3 shots behind Thomas after the 3rd round at the Workday Open–a big Sunday would vault him into the top 10. Another youngster, 22-year-old Victor Hovland from Norway who played college golf at OSU, stands at 35th on the FedEx Cup standings. Hovland started the final round at the Workday only 2 shots behind Thomas, and he also would shoot up to the top ten with a win.

Notables

Tiger will be making his first start in 3 months at next week’s Memorial Tournament, and he has won Jack’s event 5 times. All eyes will be glued to the screen to see what he has in store after such a long lay-off (Tiger will also be looking to record his 83rd Tour win and break Sam Snead’s record). There have been some rumors that his back troubles may have returned, but he looked solid at the end of May in the match with Phil, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Brooks Koepka is another force to be reckoned with down the stretch run. Looking to win an unprecedented three consecutive PGA Championships, Koepka has displayed Tiger-like ability and resolve at the biggest events under maximum pressure. Jordan Spieth has started to show signs of returning to major championship form, but has been unable to put four solid rounds together so far—still, don’t be surprised if he suddenly bursts onto the scene when the FedEx playoffs get going. And coming off his win at the Travelers, Dustin Johnson appears ready to make a move and remind us of why he is number 3 in the world rankings. Keep an eye on Patrick Cantley as well, who has quietly edged closer to the top 30 with his game peaking at exactly the right time. When you add John Rahm (number 2 in the world), Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, and Jason Day to the mix, the next month and half of pure excitement will more than make up for those dreary days when there was no golf to watch.

Get more detailed course information on the East Lake Golf Club courtesy of GolfDay.

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