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Friday, December 8, 2023

Rory McIlroy makes robust case for present Tour Championship format


ATLANTA — The ‘beginning strokes’ format on the Tour Championship is a polarizing matter amongst gamers, media, and followers. Some prefer it, whereas others, akin to Jon Rahm, don’t.

“I don’t suppose it’s the very best [system] we will give you,” Rahm mentioned forward of the Tour Championship.

The format relies on a participant’s place within the FedEx Cup standings. Since Scottie Scheffler arrived at East Lake ranked first, he started the week at 10-under par. Viktor Hovland, who finally went on to win, began at 8-under, and so forth.

Rory McIlroy, final yr’s champion, opened the event at 7-under when he started on Thursday.

Rory McIlroy, PGA Tour, Tour Championship

Rory McIlroy performs a shot in the course of the remaining spherical of the 2023 Tour Championship.
Picture by Jason Allen/ISI Images/Getty Pictures

Three nights later, he argued in favor of this format following his remaining spherical.

“A basketball staff may go 82-0 and lose within the first spherical of the playoffs,” McIlroy mentioned when requested in regards to the FedEx Cup Playoffs construction.

In American skilled sports activities, groups have to have a terrific common season to make the postseason. The groups that do qualify are divided up, with favorable situations to the groups that carried out the very best.

The identical mantra applies in golf, as the highest 70 gamers within the FedEx Cup standings qualify for the playoffs. Then if you attain the Tour Championship, the participant having the very best yr earns a bonus by way of the aforementioned ‘beginning strokes’ format.

However as McIlroy alluded to, the highest staff can get knocked out within the first spherical. Simply ask the 2023 Milwaukee Bucks, the top-seed within the Japanese Convention who misplaced to the Miami Warmth within the NBA’s opening spherical.

“It’s nearly like two totally different competitions, two totally different occasions,” McIlroy continued. “You’ve received the common season, and you then’ve received the playoffs. I feel everybody tries to place them collectively in the identical type of factor, however actually, they’re just like the common season, after which that is type of like a 12-round dash to the end.”

Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Tour Championship

Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, and Rory McIlroy heat up on the vary forward of the third spherical on the 2023 Tour Championship.
Picture by Tracy Wilcox/PGA TOUR by way of Getty Pictures

Certainly, the highest 70 gamers started the playoffs in Memphis for the FedEx St. Jude Championship. Then the highest 50 in Memphis certified for the BMW Championship in Chicago. From the Windy Metropolis, solely the highest 30 made it to East Lake, with Scheffler holding the highest spot.

However have a look at what occurred to Scheffler in Atlanta.

Early in his spherical on Thursday, the previous Texas Longhorn was cruising. Then he arrived on the par-3 fifteenth, the place he made a huge blunder. From there, it was all downhill for Scheffler, who completed the event 16 strokes behind Hovland.

Rahm, in the meantime, completed first among the many PGA Tour’s ‘Comcast High 10,’ as he had 4 wins on the season. The Comcast High 10 is an additional reward for gamers who end inside the highest 10 after the common season.

However Rahm struggled at East Lake too, as he carded rounds of 69, 65, 71, and 74 on the par-70 format.

“I’ve expressed my dislike in the direction of [this format before],” Rahm mentioned.

“The truth that you’ll be able to are available ranked primary within the FedExCup. You may win each single event up till this one. You could have a foul week, you end thirtieth, and now you’ll eternally be generally known as thirtieth within the FedExCup this season. I don’t suppose that’s particularly reasonable.”

In fact, McIlroy feels that the playoffs are totally different and needs to be handled in a different way than common PGA Tour occasions.

Viktor Hovland, PGA Tour, Tour Championship

Viktor Hovland, the 2023 FedEx Cup champion.
Picture by Jason Allen/ISI Images/Getty Pictures

Just like the 82 common season video games within the NBA, there have been 47 common season occasions on the PGA Tour this previous season—loads of time for golfers to make a transfer into the coveted high 70 for the playoffs.

On high of that, the higher the season a participant has, the higher rating they are going to have come playoff time.

“I do prefer it this manner,” McIlroy mentioned forward of the Tour Championship. “I feel it offers the blokes which have had the higher years a bonus going into the week, which I feel they need to have.”

Hovland had a terrific season, successful the Memorial, and entered the playoffs ranked seventh. He then gained the BMW and Tour Championships, thus claiming the FedEx Cup. The most well liked participant on the earth went on a postseason run to win the PGA Tour’s grand prize.

You see that in seemingly each different sport. If groups get sizzling on the proper time, be careful. The identical idea applies to golf, too, therefore McIlroy favoring the ‘beginning strokes’ format.

Jack Milko is a golf workers author for SB Nation’s Taking part in By. You may comply with him on Twitter @jack_milko for extra golf protection. Make sure to take a look at @_PlayingThrough too.


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