Four fascinating storylines heading into the FedEx Cup finale
The PGA Tour season comes to a close at this week’s Tour Championship, with the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus prize up for grabs as well.
The top 30 qualifiers who will contest the season-ending event at East Lake have been identified, so – with a little help from William Shakespeare – let’s take a look at four players in the field with the most interesting stories to tell.
‘Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown’ (Justin Rose)
It will be business as usual for Justin Rose when he tees off at East Lake on Thursday, except for one major difference – for the first time in his career, he enters an event as the No 1-ranked player in the world.
All eyes will be on Rose to see how he handles the responsibility. Will reaching the top of the world rankings help him in grow in confidence, or could the added spotlight have a negative affect?
With only one win at the Forth Worth Invitational this year, Rose’s rise to the top has more to do with his incredible consistency than a series of headline-grabbing victories, but a show-stopping finish in Atlanta this week would be the perfect response to becoming top dog.
If he wins the Tour Championship, Rose wins the FedEx Cup, but a top-three finish could very well do the job too, while he could still mathematically walk away with the prize even if he finishes as low as ninth.
‘Sweet are the uses of adversity’ (Tiger Woods)
No victory on Sunday would be more dramatic than a Tiger Woods one.
Woods has made plenty of waves since returning to the PGA Tour at the Farmers Insurance Open at the start of the year, but a victory so far still eludes him.
Even the most reluctant Woods fan must admit, however, that the way in which he has bounced back from the injury woes that have plagued him in recent years has been mightily impressive.
After a fourth operation on his back last year and an unfortunate brush with the law involving a cocktail of painkillers and a Mercedes-Benz, few ever expected to see Woods in a professional golf tournament again.
But the 14-time major champion found a way back from all that adversity, and has come awfully close to winning again, with runner-up finishes as the Valspar and PGA Championships in 2018.
Should he finally break through at East Lake, secure his first win since 2013 and bag the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup trophies as well, it would complete one of the most remarkable comeback stories of all time, in any sport.
‘We know what we are, but know not what we may be.’ (Brooks Koepka)
In recent years, many players have come close to taking total control and dominating the scene like Tiger Woods once did.
Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas have all threatened strangleholds in way or another only to ease off on the pressure, and now in Brooks Koepka you have another player seemingly on the cusp of imposing himself in a major way.
Koepka’s biggest rivals this season have already thrown in the towel and proclaimed him the PGA Tour Player of the Year, having done the math and decided that defending the US Open and winning the PGA Championship in the same year adds up to a whole lot.
While victory on Sunday would be a massive statement for any player in the field, it would be particularly portentous for Koepka, and could signal the start of a new era of one-man dominance.
‘Nothing can seem foul to those who win’ (Bryson DeChambeau)
With three big victories on the PGA Tour since the start of June, Bryson DeChambeau is arguably the most in-form golfer in the game.
DeChambeau’s win at the Memorial back in June was impressive all on its own, but to follow that up with back-to-back wins at The Northern Trust and Dell Technologies Championship suggests that the 24-year-old could be another major star ready to join the pantheon of greats.
No player has ever won three of the four FedEx Cup play-off events, but right now DeChambeau stands about as good a chance of pulling it off as anyone ever has.
Already the favourite to win the FedEx Cup bonus prize, a Tour Championship victory for DeChambeau would see him make a strong claim to join a conversation that already includes the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson.
Matt Fitzpatrick relishing favourite tag as he chases first PGA Tour title
Fitzpatrick bounced back from his Ryder Cup disappointment to win the Andalucia Masters.
Lee Westwood: From winning the Race to Dubai to sitting outside the top 100 in the rankings
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Japanese golfing hero Hideki Matsuyama’s top five PGA Tour victories
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Mallorca champion Jeff Winther nearly missed final round due to bathroom drama
Winther’s six-year-old daughter had to come to the rescue.
Jeff Winther claims maiden European Tour title with Mallorca victory
The 33-year-old Dane finished one shot clear of Sebastian Soderberg, Pep Angles and Jorge Campillo.
Hideki Matsuyama triumphs on home soil to take ZOZO Championship title
Matsuyama finished five shots clear of runner-up Brendan Steele.
Hideki Matsuyama one shot in front heading into final round of ZOZO Championship
The 29-year-old Japanese held a three-shot advantage at one stage down the back nine.
Matt Wallace remains in contention at ZOZO Championship after strong finish
Wallace was two over par for his first 15 holes at Narashino Country Club but birdied the 16th, 17th and 18th to add a 69 to his opening 65.
Matt Wallace two shots off the lead after first round of the ZOZO Championship
Home favourite Hiroshi Iwata led the way on seven under.
Collin Morikawa looking forward to having fans back in Japan
The American is racking up the miles as he contends at the start of the PGA Tour season and the end of the European Tour campaign.