ATLANTA-There’s only one day left in the most likely longest season on the PGA Tour, a ‘super season’ that included 50 events, six major championships, COVID-19 concern and a bit of golf parity.
After all, it more or less came down to two players at East Lake and the last 18 holes at the Tour Championship – Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm. Justin Thomas still has a chance to say something about it, despite a bogey in the final hole to close out the third round that really stings. But it will take a very low round to reach the top of the final FedEx Cup position.
Here’s a look at all the great things that are playing on the last day of the tour championship:
The difference is $ 10 million
This is essentially what Cantlay and Rahm are going to play for on Sunday. The winner of the FedEx Cup receives $ 15 million. The runner-up will receive $ 5 million. This is a big difference and offers a lot of reason to feel pressured. Cantlay’s third round 67 increases his advantage over Rahm to 2 strokes, with Thomas sitting 5 behind.
More cash conversation
There is a big reason to come to the tour championship. It not only secures everything, but also secures a place in next year’s masters, US Open and Open, it means a lot of money. A total of $ 46 million of the total $ 60 million in FedEx bonus money is at stake here. The last place gets $ 395,000.
After $ 15 million to the winner and $ 5 million to the second, the payouts are $ 4 million, $ 3 million, $ 2.5 million through the top five. The 10th place gets $ 830,000.
The other title on the line
Sunday’s final round could also have an effect on the vote of the player of the year on the PGA Tour. Cantlay is the only player to have won three tournaments this season, but Rahm had a major title at the U.S. Open, a six-stroke lead at the Memorial before being forced off the field due to a positive COVID-19- test, and said at The Open and the Northern Trust.
It should also be taken into account if Rahm achieves a lower score of 72 holes than Cantlay. The rules at the tour championship are skewed due to the long jump start. But everyone will know who scored the lowest.
So, who really had the best week?
This is one of the negative aspects of the three-year-old Tour Championship format, according to which each player gets a score relative to par based on their FedEx Cup points. Cantlay, as FedEx leader, started the week at 10 under. Rahm was four back in fourth place. If the leader, who already has a two-stroke lead, manages to shoot below par every day, he could turn the tournament into a slumber. If it was a regular 72-stroke shot, Rahm led by two.
Ryder Cup Watch
In addition to all the money at stake on Sunday, this is the last chance to make an impression on the American Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker, who picks his six captain choices on Wednesday.
Reed is an interesting case. Two weeks ago he was in the hospital with double pneumonia. He was scared for his life. He arrived just after the tour championship due to the Ryder Cup.
“I know things are going well with the Ryder Cup,” he said. “It’s just to get my strength and speed back.”
Does Stricker take the chance? Reed was one of the better American Ryder Cup players in his three games – although he performed poorly in France. Under normal circumstances, he can be a lock. But does his health give Stricker a break? Reed got better every day at the tour championships, including a 66 on Sunday.
What about an injured Koepka?
The four-time grand champion withdrew on Saturday with a left wrist injury after hitting a tree root on the 10th hole at East Lake. Koepka takes a full shot on goal. His wrist was then swollen. He played two more holes before withdrawing and said it was a precaution because it was the same pulse that gave him significant problems in 2017-18. Stricker wants to consider his contingency plans for Koepka if they are not ready within a few weeks.
What about Morikawa?
The Open champion cost himself a considerable amount in the FedEx Cup playoffs. He entered No. 1 in the FedEx Cup and tied for 22nd place in the field of 30 players in the final round. The difference in the top position and where he is now is about $ 14.5 million.
Morikawa said he adjusted his back at the Olympics, where he barely missed a bronze medal. He later said he would attend next week’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude invitation should have skipped. After missing the track at the Northern Trust, he dropped to sixth place on the standings. He was the 11th to come in this week.
Morikawa said he had adopted some bad habits and was just trying to work them out. He did shoot 68 on Saturday.
“I’m going to try to keep it simple,” he said. ‘I may be thinking of a lot of things, but at the end of the day everyone is just looking at our score and what we’re shooting this week. and I just want to get the ball in the hole. It really is as simple as that. ”