Tour Championship wide open as top-30 head to Atlanta

The unprecedented 2019-20 PGA Tour season will come to a close at East Lake Golf Club with the finale of the FedExCup starting Friday. Only the top 30 players in the FedExCup standings qualify for the TOUR Championship, which will conclude on Labor Day.

This is the second year of the TOUR Championship’s staggered start format, where the FedExCup leader will start the week at 10-under par and two shots ahead of the second-place player in the FedExCup standings.

Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy won the 2019 FedExCup and Tour Championship (Credit: PGA Tour)

Players start further down the leaderboard based on their ranking in the FedExCup. The player atop the leaderboard Monday evening wins both the TOUR Championship and the FedExCup.

Finishing in the top 30 not only earned players a trip to East Lake week; it also makes them exempt for at least three of the majors next year, the WGCs and the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Whoever wins the Tour Championship will also win the FedExCup and the US$15 million prize. Last season, Justin Thomas entered the Tour Championship ranked No. 1 and started at 10-under. Still, Rory McIlroy, who started the week fifth on the point list, wound up winning the tournament and the FedExCup even though he began the week five shots behind Thomas.

This week Dustin Johnson starts as the number one followed by Jon Rahm. Thomas is third with Webb Simpson and Collin Morikawa rounding out the top-5 seedings.

Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith are 25th and 26th respectively with Leishman at 1-under some nine shots from Johnson.

There is again no cut for this week’s event, which makes for quite the eventful tournament to follow. The TOUR Championship first arrived at East Lake in 1998 and every TOUR Championship has been contested at the storied facility since 2005.

Johnson will be seeking his first Tour Championship title, whilst McIIroy, the defending champion, will be aiming to become the first three-time winner of the FedExCup.

However, McIlroy’s defence may be interrupted with the 31-year-old making the surprise revelation during the tournament that he and his wife, Erica, are expecting a baby any day now.