The Tour Championship is only for the 30 best golfers of the season. It’s rich with bonuses and incentives and exemptions — including the next season’s four majors — so getting into the top 30 and securing a spot for East Lake in Atlanta is a major accomplishment.
And now that the first two legs of the FedEx Cup Playoffs are complete — following Jon Rahm’s thrilling victory over Dustin Johnson at the BMW Championship — we know our 30. Here’s who just got in, and some unfortunate others who barely missed out.
Joaquin Niemann: In
He was the tournament leader at one point on Sunday, but he didn’t need to win to secure his spot at East Lake. Niemann had the biggest jump of anyone who landed in the top 30, starting at 31st — one spot out — to 18th, a leap of 13 places. He was five under on the weekend at Olympia Fields to finish T3 and earn a ticket to Atlanta, one of two players who started the week out of the top 30 but still got in (scroll down for the other).
Adam Long: Out
Long entered the week 27th but was the last man out on Sunday night in Illinois. He finished nicely — three birdies in his last five — but was done in with a Friday 77. He tied for 56th at the BMW, meaning he was 31st in the FedEx Cup standings. Long was one of two who was in the top 30 when the week started but got knocked out.
Billy Horschel: In
Thanks, in part, to Corey Conners, Horschel is heading back to where he won the FedEx Cup crown in 2014. Horschel, who entered the week 30th, was projected 31st in the standings when he was finishing up on the 72nd green on Sunday, but before he walked off it he was back to 30th and inside the line. The reason? His playing partner, Conners, three-putted from five feet to make double bogey and juggle the points system just enough to push Horschel up a spot. “I’ll probably give him a nice bottle of wine or a good dinner or something,” Horschel said. Smart move, Billy.
Tiger Woods: Out
OK, so Woods never had a great shot of getting a spot in the Tour Championship anyway, the site of his epic 2018 comeback victory. But it’s worth noting we won’t see Mr. Woods again until the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in New York (where he was spotted playing recently with Justin Thomas). He was T51 at the BMW and ended up 63rd in the FedEx Cup standings.
“This golf course was basically a U.S. Open, with the rough being as high as it is and fairways a little bit narrow,” Woods said. “Look at the scores, and I don’t think that we’ve seen scores like this in a non-major in a very long time. This was a great ramp-up for me for the U.S. Open. I wish I was playing next week, but I’ve got a couple weeks off.”
Mackenzie Hughes: In
Hughes entered the week in 36th place but crept up the leaderboard and needed to par 18 to secure his spot inside the top 30. His approach went into the greenside bunker, and he needed to get up and down to head to East Lake. If he bogeyed, he’d drop to 32nd and miss next week.
“If this was just a Wednesday practice round, nine times out of 10 he’d get it up and in,” said NBC analyst Paul Azinger. But this wasn’t any Wednesday practice round.
Hughes splashed it to five feet and rolled in the putt, which led to an emotional fist-pump and 28th-place finish in the standings.
Matthew Fitzpatrick: Out
Fitzpatrick, like Woods, was a long shot to advance, but he still put together a nice week and finished T6, enough to jump 24 spots in the FedEx Cup standings and land at 36th. That was tied with Jason Kokrak (66th to 42nd) for the biggest jump of the week, and that’s certainly worthy of some virtual ink here — especially since he ran into some bad luck on the course.
Tony Finau: In
Finau was on the fringe heading into the week, hanging at the 29th spot, but he jumped up nine positions with his 5th-place finish. He’s now headed to his fourth straight Tour Championship.
Kevin Streelman: Out
Like Long, Streelman was in the field before the BMW kicked off (28th), but fell to 32nd at week’s end. He shot four under on the weekend — including a Saturday 66 — but he never rebounded from a 76-80 start and finished T51.