Tour Championship: Preview

Scottie Scheffler starts top of the leaderboard followed by Viktor Hovland and defending champion Rory McIlroy as the season-ending Tour Championship tees off at East Lake Golf Club.

The grand finale of the FedExCup Playoffs will be played Aug 24–27 at East Lake in Atlanta, with the winner earning a whopping $18 million and the title of FedEx Cup champion for 2023.

Only two players have been crowned FedEx Cup champion twice since it was first awarded in 2007, Tiger Woods (2007 and 2009), and McIlroy (2016 and 2019). McIlroy last year became the only player to have won it three times.

In 2022, McIlroy triple bogeyed his very first hole and then bogeyed his second, putting him a full 10 shots behind leader Scheffler. By Sunday he was still six shots back but carded a final-round 66 to beat Scheffler and Sungjae Im by one shot.

FedExCup Playoffs: How it works

Throughout the season, players are awarded FedEx Cup points based on their performances in PGA Tour events, which usually award 500 points to the winner. Bigger tournaments award more points. Major winners get 600 points.

The top 70 players in the FedEx Cup standings at the end of the Wyndham Championship played at the start of August, won in 2023 by Lucas Glover, then qualify for the first of three FedExCup playoff events.

The first event is the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind in Tennessee. The top 50 players from that event progress to the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club near Chicago.

The FedEx St. Jude Championship and BMW Championship each offer quadruple FedEx Cup points – 2,000 points going to the winner.

The FedEx St. Jude Championship was won by Glover who made it back-to-back PGA Tour victories by beating fellow American Patrick Cantlay in a play-off. The BMW Championship was won by Hovland who carded a career-low nine-under 61 to set a new course record in the final round, overtaking Matt Fitzpatrick and Scheffler in joint second with McIlroy in third.

The top 30 in the FedExCup standings following the BMW Championship advanced to the Tour Championship, where the final leaderboard will represent the final FedExCup standings, with the winner crowned FedEx Cup champion.

Tour Championship format

The leader of the season-long FedEx Cup points standings enters the Tour Championship at 10 under par, with those behind starting with scores on a staggered scale. So, No. 2 in FedEx Cup points starts at 8 under, No. 3 at 7 under, and so on down to the final five in the standings who start at even par, 10 shots behind the leader.

The player who finishes the four rounds at East Lake Golf Club with the lowest score in relation to par will win the FedExCup.

World No. 1 Scheffler will start the Tour Championship on top at 10 under, just as he did in 2022, followed by Hovland, McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Glover.

Leaderboard at the start of the Tour Championship

10 under par: Scottie Scheffler
8 under par: Viktor Hovland
7 under par: Rory McIlroy
6 under par: Jon Rahm
5 under par: Lucas Glover
4 under par: Max Homa, Patrick Cantlay, Brian Harman, Wyndham Clark, Matt Fitzpatrick
3 under par: Tommy Fleetwood, Russell Henley, Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele
2 under par: Tom Kim, Sungjae Im, Tony Finau, Corey Conners, Si Woo Kim
1 under par: Taylor Moore, Nick Taylor, Adam Schenk, Collin Morikawa, Jason Day

Even par: Sam Burns, Emiliano Grillo, Tyrrell Hatton, Jordan Spieth, Sepp Straka

Tee Times (local time)

11:26 am: Jordan Spieth, Sepp Straka
11:37 am: Emiliano Grillo, Tyrrell Hatton
11:48 am: Jason Day, Sam Burns
11:59 am: Adam Schenk, Collin Morikawa
12:10 pm: Taylor Moore, Nick Taylor
12:21 pm: Corey Conners, Si Woo Kim
12:32 pm: Sungjae Im, Tony Finau
12:43 pm: Xander Schauffele, Tom Kim
12:54 pm: Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler
1:05 pm: Tommy Fleetwood, Russell Henley
1:16 pm: Wyndham Clark, Matt Fitzpatrick

1:27 pm: Patrick Cantlay, Brian Harman
1:38 pm: Lucas Glover, Max Homa
1:49 pm: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm
2 pm: Scottie Scheffler, Viktor Hovland

Prize money

There is not an actual purse for the Tour Championship like at other events during the season. The FedEx Cup Playoffs bonus money is the only money that players earn at East Lake. FedEx Cup bonus money is also not considered part of a golfer’s official earnings for the season.

The total bonus pool for the FedExCup Playoffs is $75 million. First place in the FedExCup gets $18 million, $6.5 million for second, $5 million for third, $4 million for fourth and $3 million for fifth. The player who finishes in 30th and last place receives $500,000.

East Lake Golf Club

The Tour Championship has been held at East Lake Golf Club since 2004. It’s the oldest golf course in Atlanta and the home course of the great Bobby Jones. Originally designed by Tom Bendelow, both Donald Ross and Rees Jones, son of renowned course architect Robert Trent Jones, have in recent years upgraded the layout.

It’s a par 70 and 7,346 yards long. It has narrow fairways, so accuracy off the tee is a must, while difficult Bermudagrass rough and undulating greens that tend to slope from back to front make things tricky. Last year, McIlroy’s four-round score was 17 under (not including his four-under start position).

Ryder Cup incentives

The Ryder Cup starts on September 29 and six American players have already accrued enough points for automatic selection. But the other six sports will be reserved for captain’s choices, made by Zach Johnson after the Tour Championship. So this tournament will be the last chance for Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Keegan Bradley, Sam Burns, Rickie Fowler, Glover and Russell Henley to make an impression.

PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka plays on the LIV Golf tour and will not be at the Tour Championship. He just missed out on being an automatic qualifier, finishing seventh in the points standings. He now has to wait to see if he’s picked by Johnson.

The six automatic qualifiers for the European team will be based on points accrued after the European Masters which ends September 3. European Captain Luke Donald will then make the six other selections. Right now, McIlroy, Rahm and Hovland have acquired enough points to make the team.

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