Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas agreed that this week’s staggered scoring system to decide the fate of the Tour Championship might be easier to follow for the viewers at home but still lacks fairness when it comes to determining the season long FedEx Cup race.
The top-30 on the standings have arrived at East Lake chasing the dream of a $15million bonus payout. Last week’s winner Patrick Cantlay, who soared to the top of the points table with his BMW playoff win over Bryson DeChambeau, starts off with a two-shot lead before a ball is struck.
All 30 players take their place on the starting grid based on their FedEx performance in the lead-up to this week’s finale with no more than 10 shots separating the field. First introduced in 2019, the system means the winner of the Tour Championship will also go home with the FedExCup title – a simple equation for fans to work out though not necessarily the best way to determine the player of a season.
“I’m not going to say too much because I know my words are going to be possibly, let’s say, muddled to the extreme and almost make it sound something different than what I feel, but I’m not the biggest supporter of the full format itself,” says Rahm, who starts four shots behind Cantlay after the world number one fell to fourth spot on the FedEx following last week’s tied ninth finish.
“What I do like is the fact that you understand what’s going on and what’s going to happen, who is in the lead and what you have to do to win, but I don’t agree with every part of the format this week.”
Justin Thomas, who won the FedEx Cup in 2017, echoed Rahm’s sentiments that it’s easier for the people at home to understand but fell short of endorsing the handicap system that can overlook a player’s performance over the entire season.
“I like it more now than I feel like I did when I first heard it,” Thomas reckons, who starts six shots behind his soon to be Ryder Cup teammate, Cantlay. “I mean, it’s easier for people to understand at home, which I think was the main reason that it’s happened or that it kind of came about.
“I’m not really a big fan of whoever finishes lowest winning the golf tournament, because that’s not necessarily the fact and winning golf tournaments out here is a big deal. I personally wish that that wasn’t a thing because, obviously, if you’re 10-under then you have a lot better chance to win the actual tournament versus everyone starting at the same score.
“Then you obviously get into the fact of, I could have the greatest season of all time on the PGA Tour. I could win 15 times in a season and I could come here and I could just have something just detrimental happen to where I either can’t play or I have an injury and I don’t play, then I finish 30th in the FedExCup because of that.
“I don’t think that’s fair and I think that’s something that could somehow be tweaked or fixed. But I do like the fact that everybody that’s here this week knows exactly where they stand, they know what they have to do and they just have to go out and get it.”
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