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FedEx Cup finale marks the end of a tumultuous season for golf

One lucky chap will be $18m richer on Sunday for winning a golf tournament. Such are the riches on offer for gaining command of a pimpled orb 43mm in diameter and weighing 50 grams. The FedEx Cup finale at East Lake in stifling Atlanta marks the end of a tumultuous season for the professional game, which is about to embark on a new era under new management.

There are a number of elements in play over the coming four days not least the race for the jackpot. The huge winner’s cheque is made up of the tournament prize fund plus the FedEx bonus pot, which is distributed all the way down the points table and is worth $18,000 dollars to the 150th player in the list.

Only the top 30 are at East Lake, led by Scottie Scheffler, who starts on 10 under par as a reward for leading the points race. Second-placed Viktor Hovland starts two shots back on eight under with third-placed Rory McIlroy on seven under. Don’t fret for McIlroy. He has won the FedEx Cup a record three times and twice in the past four years after starting with a deficit.

At his annual end-of-season address at East Lake, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan bore none of the scars that forced him into hiding for 33 days on medical grounds after announcing in June the shock deal with the Saudi Public Investment Fund that is about to reconfigure the sport. Gone is the division and bitterness triggered by the arrival of LIV Golf, gone is the wraparound season, which began in September, closed in December and fired up again in January.

In its place an upbeat attitude, smiles, a season starting in January and closing with a post-August run of seven tournaments, named the FedEx Fall Series, which will see hopefuls attempting to gain their PGA Tour card plus a tee time at designated events, including the first elevated tournament of 2024, The Sentry Tournament of Champions, in January.

The restructured autumn series will roll out immediately, before 2024 launches with a schedule that includes eight elevated events alongside the four majors, the Players Championship and the three-tournament FedEx finale. That constitutes 16 super events contested by the best players.

How the LIV Golf League and its players will co-exist in this new system has yet to be outlined. That it will have a connected place in the calendar with players form different tours coming together at key events is assumed by the nature of the new deal, which is bankrolled by the same Saudi money that launched LIV Golf in June last year, and by the commentary of Monahan, who alluded to the ongoing discussion to finalise the agreement that brought an end to the dispute.

“I am confident that we will reach an agreement that achieves a positive outcome for the PGA Tour,” Monahan said.

“I feel like we’re in the strongest position to be able to succeed and successfully conclude these negotiations in a way that protects the legacy of the PGA Tour on a long-term basis.”

As well as hunting down big bucks, a cohort in the East Lake field are shooting for a place in the US Ryder team. With six automatically qualified, a notional six spots remain. Notional because most of the captain’s picks are already established in the mind of US skipper Zach Johnson.

Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka appear certain to be called up with Rickie Fowler, Collin Morikawa and Cameron Young also strongly favoured, which leaves the likes of Keegan Bradley, Tony Finau, Lucas Glover and Sam Burns looking to impress this week.

Who has qualified for the Ryder Cup?

Q = Qualified. Players in bold are currently in line to play.


Three players from the European points list qualify, followed by the top three on the world points list not already qualified.

European points list

  • 1st Rory McIlroy Q (4,033.5)
  • 2nd Jon Rahm Q (3,417.23)
  • 3rd Robert MacIntyre (1,743.57)
  • 4th Yannik Paul (1,652.9)
  • 5th Adrian Meronk (1614.21)

World points list

  • 1st Rory McIlroy (399.29)
  • 2nd Jon Rahm (392.72)
  • 3rd Viktor Hovland Q (321.67)
  • 4th Tyrrell Hatton (199.17)
  • 5th Tommy Fleetwood (180.52)


The top six players in the ­American rankings qualify

  • 1st Scottie Scheffler Q (27,617.735)
  • 2nd Wyndham Clark Q (13,738.920)
  • 3rd Brian Harman Q (11,100.539)
  • 4th Patrick Cantlay Q (10,946.750)
  • 5th Max Homa Q (9,638.764)
  • 6th Xander Schauffele Q (9,450.269)

And even that might not be enough should Johnson be persuaded by the outstanding match play record of Justin Thomas, who missed out on the FedEx play-offs for the first time in his career after missing six cuts in his last 12 events.

Indeed the inclusion of Thomas in the field at the Fortinet Championship two weeks before the Ryder Cup suggests his place is assured. However, a win this week might just be enough for any of the fringe contenders to force his way on the plane to Rome at the expense of Fowler, Morikawa or Young.

Those holding out for the inclusion of LIV’s Bryson DeChambeau face disappointment. DeChambeau has not heard a dickie bird from Johnson, the 58 he shot at the Greenbrier earlier this month insufficient to break the ice.

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