ATLANTA (AP) — Two trophies are better than one, especially when one of them comes with $10 million.
The PGA Tour’s season ends this week at the Tour Championship, and that means the end of the FedEx Cup season that began 342 days ago in California’s wine country. The top five seeds only have to win the tournament to claim the richest bonus in golf, though there has been three occasions that the FedEx Cup was won by someone else.
Bill Haas won it as the No. 25 seed, making him the inspiration for long shots.
It sounds like a sure-fire recipe for excitement Sunday, and last year was proof of that. Rory McIlroy, the No. 6 seed, had to hole a shot from the fairway for eagle on the 16th hole to get into a three-man playoff that he eventually won.
This year holds the promise of split trophies – one Tour Championship winner, a different FedEx Cup champion – because the competition has been extraordinarily tight, and the depth of talent is greater than ever.
That hasn’t happened since 2009 , when Phil Mickelson (the No. 14 seed) won the Tour Championship and Tiger Woods (No. 1) seed won the FedEx Cup.
“Let me see if I get this straight,” Mickelson said at the trophy presentation. “I shot 65, and he gets a check for $10 million.”
He was kidding.
Jordan Spieth is the No. 1 seed for the first time, and that was important to him because of the potential for someone outside the top five to win. Every point matters. He is followed by Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Marc Leishman and Jon Rahm.
They earned those spots. Thomas, Johnson and Leishman won FedEx Cup playoff events. Spieth was runner-up in two of them and tied for seventh in the other. Rahm finished in the top five at all three of them.