The PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs are currently easier than ever to win. With the top-ranked players so far being Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, and Jon Rahm, it seems like a foregone conclusion that these four golfers will be playing in the final match on September 28th.
The fedex cup is a four-tournament, season-long golf tournament that has had an easy path to the playoffs. This week’s playoff match was not even close.
MARYLAND’S OWINGS MILLS — When the playoffs begin in almost any sport, participants are aware that the level of competition will increase. Defenses hit harder in football. Turnovers by their own team are regarded as a tragedy by coaches. You have to battle for every rebound in basketball. At-bats in the postseason can resemble a battle of wills.
Something unique happens in professional golf.
The game seems to be getting easier.
Bogeys are becoming more scarce. It’s virtually unheard of to play doubles. Players are judged on how many birdies they can make rather than whether or not they can make them. And they’d better produce a lot of them, or the leaders will dust them off.
The BMW Championship, the second tournament in the FedEx Cup playoffs, was the ideal illustration this week at Caves Valley. The 70-man field has made 948 total birdies and 20 eagles through three rounds. The field is 527 points below par, with a 69.4 average.
Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau, who are tied for the lead at 21 under par, stand a good chance of shooting the lowest score (in relation to par) on the PGA Tour this year. In January, Harris English scored 25 under par at the Tournament of Champions (on a par-73 course with five par-5s), and in May, K.H. Lee shot 25 under par at TPC Craig Ranch to win the Byron Nelson. Only three players in tour history have ever shot 30 under in a four-round event, but Dustin Johnson won the Northern Trust by 11 strokes during the 2020 FedEx Cup playoffs.
What are we to make of this? It depends on your point of view. Despite the PGA Tour’s enormous marketing expenditure in these playoffs, the FedEx Cup isn’t a major, and no fan would mistake it for one. Isn’t the postseason supposed to have a little more bite? When asked about his third-round 66, Cantlay was open and honest.
He remarked, “It was another day on a soft, easy golf course.”
The truth is, this may be precisely how the PGA Tour and its sponsors see the playoffs. After all, what’s more likely to entice fans away from college football’s opening weekend: The world’s top golfers piling up birdies and eagles? Or are the same players chasing pars?
Rory McIlroy, who is tied for fourth at 17 under, stated, “I definitely believe the FedEx Cup playoffs are different than the majors.” “The tour is more of an entertainment product than a serious tour, which may seem a bit harsh. The majors are set up a little differently, and it’s expected to be the most difficult test of the season. It’s a little out of the ordinary.”
There are a variety of reasons for this, some of which the PGA Tour could not regulate even if it wanted to. At this time of year, temperatures in the Northeast are blistering, and humid days are often followed by nighttime thunderstorms. The maintenance staff has found it difficult to maintain a course like Caves Valley firm, despite the fact that firmness is arguably the course’s sole protection against pros.
Getty Images/Cliff Hawkins
“Look, here is a part of the nation where it gets hot and humid, and bentgrass doesn’t have the qualities that you want in a very difficult golf course,” McIlroy said. “I’m not sure where you could travel this time of year where it wouldn’t happen unless you’re on the West Coast or in the Northwest or something.”
McIlroy and Cantlay weren’t the only ones who were forthright. It doesn’t matter how long the course is when players know the ball won’t bounce very far after it falls. Everyone has the ability to, and will, fall low.
“On a soft golf course like this, a player like Bryson is difficult to defeat. The closer you go to the top of the mountain, the better “Sam Burns is tied for 17th place with Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia.
Garcia, who scored a 67 in the third round, remarked, “It’s enjoyable if you’re playing good.” “It’s not my preferred style of golf. I enjoy it when it’s a little more difficult than simply putting. Don’t get me wrong: you still have to hit the strokes…. However, the course is pretty easy to play.”
Michael Collins gets you ready for the last stop of the FedEx Cup playoffs and the Tour Championship in the season finale of America’s Caddie. ESPN+ is currently offering a live stream of the event.
After a first-round 64, Jon Rahm was tied for the lead. He then followed it up with a 66 and a 68, losing ground each day and eventually dropping to ninth place. Only four players in the 70-man field are presently over par: Carlos Ortiz, Russell Henley, Max Homa, and Collin Morikawa. Their total score was 5 over.
“You simply have to have narrow fairways and high rough [to test tour players] if it’s soft,” Jordan Spieth, who is 5 under and tied for 49th, said. “However, the fairways are very broad and the greens are quite large. To create a bogey, you have to really mess up…. Unless you do something truly bad, it’s difficult to be completely out of place.”
Caves Valley, which is holding its inaugural PGA Tour event, is not a course with tight fairways. Outside of the Plantation Course at Kapalua, it boasts some of the largest fairways of any course the players play. It also contains three par-4 holes that are under 400 yards long. For many gamers, this is a green light thanks to current technology.
“I believe a lot of the courses we play today have fairways that are 300 and 310 [yards],” McIlroy remarked. “It doesn’t enable long hitters to hit drives very often, as shown by last week’s game. It’s always a huge benefit to have a large golf course like this that enables the big hitters to smash driver. It’s simply wonderful to have the driver in your hands and feel free to let it fly a little.”
Last year’s BMW Championship, though, saw hard conditions at Olympia Fields provide one of the toughest tests of the year. Only five players broke par, and Rahm’s winning score (4 under) was even closer to par than DeChambeau’s in the US Open at Winged Foot. It’s conceivable that the playoffs will provide a tough test, but that won’t happen until the top 30 players get at East Lake in Atlanta next week for the Tour Championship.
“I enjoy the tougher challenges,” McIlroy said, “but I don’t want a very challenging test every week.” “East Lake will be an excellent example — they’ll win with a score of 12 under. I believe that 12 under par is a good winning number for most golf courses, and that 8 to 12 under par is a solid winning score on most golf courses. I believe it puts the appropriate amount of pressure on players while still allowing them to score some birdies and take risks. I believe there is a delicate balance to be achieved. It depends on what we’re hoping to achieve by the conclusion of the FedEx Cup playoffs. One aspect of it, I believe, is entertainment. This week has definitely been fun. I don’t believe it’ll be quite as — next week [in the Tour Championship] won’t be quite as birdie-fest as it is this week. That, in my opinion, is a positive thing, particularly when it comes to the last one and the top 30. I believe the difficulty is also an essential component.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you win the Tour Championship and not the FedEx Cup?
That is not possible.
How does FedEx playoffs work in 2020?
FedEx playoffs will start in 2020.
How much does the winner of the FedEx golf tournament get?
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