MEDINAH, Ailing. – This can be a largely summary idea since its announcement just a few months in the past, a distant variable that didn’t matter a lot within the current. However the stodgy standings that might be on the forefront of a revamped monitor championship final week is shortly turning into the main focus of gamers' minds this week on the BMW Championship.
Among the many many modifications introduced final yr within the long-run race of the season, together with the three-to-three sequence, it was to offer the perfect gamers no extra factors, however fewer photographs. After the sector was picked up this week outdoors of Chicago from 70 to 30 gamers, the entire variety of tee photographs awarded to those that remained standing ranges from 10 to much less. After that, the match is launched, every in search of to win the title of champion of the circuit and the primary prize of $ 15 million that can go to the latest FedExCup champion.
The transition from the factors to the tee photographs begins to be felt on the eve of the penultimate occasion, particularly for these whose beginning whole at East Lake may change by one stroke or two with every birdie or bogey this week on the Medinah Nation Membership. Probably the greatest statistical seasons in Rory McIlroy's profession put him in third place within the BMW, a place that will equate to a beginning whole of seven below subsequent week. If the standings are good, he would have three photographs behind Brooks Koepka and a shot behind Patrick Reed, winner final week within the first playoff recreation.
"I need to be 10 below par on this primary begin to Atlanta subsequent week," McIlroy mentioned. "It's laborious sufficient to win golf tournaments if you all begin on a degree enjoying discipline. However each time it chokes like that, it's tough if somebody like Brooks Koepka or Patrick Reed, or one other participant, begins two or three photographs in entrance of you.
"It's apparent that enjoying golf on 72 holes is an thrilling expertise. However I believe that every part is regularized through the week and it’s fairly tough to establish some guys of this caliber firstly of the week. "
Purists are prone to be a place to begin for the ultimate season of the 10-month season with a unusual begin, and the street dealing with these on the backside of the unique rankings (numbers 26-30 will all begin at 10 driving photographs) will definitely be painful. However the counterpoint is that their destiny is now completely of their palms. Within the earlier format, a unprecedented particular person efficiency had but to be matched with particular outcomes from different gamers over whom that they had no management to win the prize of the season.
The brand new system additionally removes the protection internet that was beforehand in place for gamers who had been on the prime of the factors race earlier than the final occasion. Beforehand, a top-five place in Atlanta meant not solely profitable the FedExCup with a win, but additionally staying within the prime 10, whatever the efficiency at East Lake. With this qualifier is gone, as a result of a foul output of a participant like Koepka may erase a season of dominant performances and go away the participant seemingly of the yr within the second half of the ultimate standings of the ultimate event and the season .
"With our system, I believe there may be extra volatility this yr," mentioned Paul Casey. "I do know mathematicians say that's not the case, however I believe they don’t know what's going to occur in East Lake."
Casey's place is corroborated by his distinctive schedule final month. The Englishman performed within the ultimate of the common season in Greensboro, in search of a six-digit payday within the Wyndham Rewards rankings, earlier than resting by eliminating the opening recreation of the playoffs playoffs performed final week in New Jersey.
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BMW Championship: tee instances in open discipline | Full protection | FedExCup Rating
This resolution appeared to go as deliberate, the de facto week off solely bringing Casey again from eighth to thirteenth place. With the brand new model of the Tour Championship scoring, this equates to a single shot at East Lake: the numbers 6-10 begin at four below, whereas the numbers 11-15 begin at three below.
"If I miss a spot or two, or price me a shot or two by way of beginning place, I'm not anxious," Casey mentioned. "I play very properly in East Lake. Sure, this technique might be very totally different from the purpose construction we had earlier than. "
These variations are beginning to be felt by gamers like Gary Woodland, who at present ranks ninth within the factors standings, thanks largely to his victory within the US Open in June. Woodland is conversant in East Lake, having progressed within the Tour Championship every of the final three years, however his beginning rating subsequent week may fluctuate significantly relying on his performances this week in Medinah.
"It's an enormous match for all of us. You're so used to going out, you play the 4 greatest rounds, you normally win the golf event, "mentioned Woodland. "Subsequent week, it is going to be crucial to place your self. It is going to be a bit totally different. "
Breaking the beginning rating within the profitable season finale is the PGA Tour's model of a primary world drawback. Subsequent week, the wealthy will develop into richer and greater than half of the members on the BMW would like a beginning place at East Lake moderately than trying from dwelling.
However for a handful of elite gamers, this week doesn’t take care of tough situations for progress. Their tickets are offered to the 30 males of the Tour, and it stays solely now to understand how far they are going to begin the get together.
After all, there’s a difficult situation wherein the participant with the bottom rating on 72 holes doesn’t win the event. However there have been many instances prior to now when the East Lake champion had not lifted the World Cup, together with final yr's double shot with Tiger Woods and Justin Rose.
And the staggering rating, earlier than a single shot is hit, may take a while to get used to, each for the followers and the gamers. However the questions ought to dissipate because the week progresses, as gamers at the moment are absorbed by a well-known place: have a look at my rating, have a look at the scoreboard and pull out a quantity that bridges the hole.
Now all that continues to be is to find out the beginning lanes.
"The factors had been fairly complicated and sophisticated," mentioned Matt Kuchar, at present ranked fourth. "I believe it is going to be fairly simple."