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Spieth on the bubble for huge FedEx payday

China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-07 09:55
Jordan Spieth watches his tee shot on the third hole during the first round of the BMW Championship golf tournament at Aronimink GC, in Newtown Square, USA, Sep 6, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pennsylvania - Easily overlooked this week is golf's other "cup" - the one more about finances than flags.

Jordan Spieth sure hasn't forgotten about the FedEx competition.

One year after he was in the mix for the $10 million bonus until the final hour at East Lake in Atlanta, Spieth is simply trying to make sure he has a tee time at the Tour Championship.

He is No 27 in the FedEx Cup, and only the top 30 advance to the finale in two weeks.

"Each year you pick a schedule, and I have essentially assumed - based on the previous years - that I would be part of it and have a chance to win," Spieth said on Wednesday at the BMW Championship.

"Each year, I've had an opportunity to win the FedEx Cup. This year, at this current state, I'm in a more difficult position to win it than I've been in the last five years."

He's still inside the top 30 from the 70-man field at Aronimink who hope to advance to East Lake. Spieth figures he only needs a "normal" week in the third FedEx playoff event, which starts on Thursday.

A year ago, Louis Oosthuizen came into the BMW Championship at No 24 and missed out on the Tour Championship by one point. The highest-seeded player who didn't advance was Rickie Fowler in 2016, when he was No 22 and missed by 0.57 points.

So for Spieth, there is work to be done.

It's not just the mathematical shot at the $10 million bonus, or even pride to not be left out of the Tour Championship for the first time since turning pro.

The PGA Tour has a policy that requires its members to play in a minimum of 25 tournaments. If they fall short, players must add a tournament they have not played in four years.

Because he added nothing new to his schedule this year, Spieth has to reach 25 events. And the only way to reach that number (the Ryder Cup counts) is to make it to the Tour Championship.

The policy is in its second year, and no one has violated it yet.

Also on the bubble are Fowler and Tiger Woods.

Woods has finished out of the top 20 in both playoff events and has dropped five spots to No 25, needing to play well to avoid missing the Tour Championship for the first time when playing a full schedule.

Fowler missed the first two events with an injury and is No 26.

As for that other cup?

US captain Jim Furyk announced three of his four picks for the Ryder Cup on Tuesday evening: Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau.

On Wednesday, European captain Thomas Bjorn picked Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia.

All of them except Garcia, who didn't qualify for the playoffs, are at Aronimink.

And then there's Tony Finau, who has played so well the last two weeks that he is No 4 in the FedEx Cup.

Finau goes into the BMW Championship trying to nail down one of the top five seeds for East Lake because those players only have to win the Tour Championship to claim the richest prize in golf.

He also wants to be No 12-the final member of the US team that Furyk will announce on Monday.

Finau is the leading choice as the final pick, mainly because he trails only world No 1 Dustin Johnson for the most top 10s this year, and because no other candidates have stood out over the past few months.

Associated Press

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