Play-offs not major target

Jordan Spieth throwing the ceremonial first pitch of the Major League Baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers last week. The golfer is trying to peak for the Tour Championship, the last event of the FedExCup play-offs.
Jordan Spieth throwing the ceremonial first pitch of the Major League Baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers last week. The golfer is trying to peak for the Tour Championship, the last event of the FedExCup play-offs.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

FedExCup ranks below Majors in priority for young American golf upstart Spieth

EDISON (United States) • By the age of 22, Jordan Spieth has already accomplished some life-long goals - winning the US Masters and achieving the world No. 1 ranking in golf.

The next challenge facing the American is parlaying his top position in the FedExCup standings into victory in the four-event play-off series that culminates with the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Spieth said that goal ranks lower than accumulating golf's Major titles, such as the Masters and US Open he won this year. But the Texan does not undervalue the season-ending play-offs and the US$10 million (S$14 million) bonus that goes to the champion.

"I put winning the FedExCup below a Major championship," he said on Tuesday before going out for his first look at Plainfield Country Club, where the opening play-offs event, The Barclays, begins today.

"The FedExCup is something that would put some food on the table for sure," he added in his dead-pan style, drawing laughter from his audience.

"It's something I'd love to win some day. The names on that trophy are no fluke."

FUTURE GOAL

"The FedExCup is something I'd love to win some day. The names on that trophy are no fluke."

JORDAN SPIETH American golfer on his next challenge

Tiger Woods, who did not qualify among the top 125 on the points list for The Barclays, has won the FedExCup twice, including the inaugural 2007 competition.

Another notable absentee is world No. 2 Rory McIlroy. The Northern Irishman, who made a quick return from an ankle injury to play in this month's PGA Championship, is skipping The Barclays before planning to join the series next week in Boston for the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Second on the FedExCup points list is PGA Championship winner Jason Day of Australia, followed by two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker and England's Justin Rose.

Day sees the play-offs as the opportunity for a challenge to Spieth in the voting for the PGA Tour Player of the Year award.

The Australian is returning to competition this week after his breakthrough three-stroke success over Spieth at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

"The next four weeks starting this week here in New Jersey are very important and to be able to win the FedExCup would be the icing on my season," the 27-year old said.

"If I could snag the FedExCup trophy to go with my PGA Championship victory I could go very close to being named Player of the Year.

"I know it's going to be tough to unseat Jordan because he's played such amazing golf this year but then if I were to capture the FedExCup, it puts my name in the mix for that award, and gives our peers voting on the award someone else's name to think about."

The play-off fields are winnowed down from week to week.

The top 100 on the points list after The Barclays qualify for Boston. The best 70 following the Deutsche Bank advance to the BMW Championship at Conway Farms in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Thirty players qualify for the concluding Tour Championship at East Lake where a points reset will give all those players left in the field a mathematical opportunity to win the FedExCup.

However, the top five there control their own destiny and anyone from that quintet could claim the jackpot with an East Lake victory.

Spieth could win the first three events of the series and still not claim the FedExCup title and jackpot.

"It's a little odd that it just completely resets, because if you want it to be the true champion of the year, it wouldn't necessarily reset for the final," he said.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2015, with the headline 'Play-offs not major target'. Print Edition | Subscribe