The PGA Tour’s regular season has come to an end, which means we’re talking playoffs—the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
After months spent jostling for position, members of Team TaylorMade are ready to make a run over the next three weeks and vie for the most lucrative prize in golf—the $15 million (!) bonus check the eventual FedEx Cup winner gets to cash. That’s not a typo, by the way. The overall winner takes home $15 million, up $5 million from last year’s $10 million payout.
It all starts this week at THE NORTHERN TRUST at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey, where the top-125 golfers in the points standings will tee it up. After this week, 55 players will be eliminated and the rest move on to the BMW Championship, with the field being whittled down to 30 at the TOUR Championship later this month.
In another twist to the action, the TOUR Championship will feature a “starting strokes” system, which awards the higher seeded players heading into the event. The No. 1-ranked player will start the tournament at 10-under. The No. 2-ranked player will start at 8-under, No. 3 at 7-under and so on.
To get you primed for the closing stretch, we broke down which members of Team TaylorMade are ready to contend as well as dive into how they got here.
Rory McIlroy enters the playoffs as arguably one of the most consistent players on the planet. Rory has the most top-10 finishes on Tour (12), leads the Tour in scoring average (69.09) and Strokes Gained-Total (+2.670). His consistent play coupled with wins at THE PLAYERS Championship and RBC Canadian Open helped earn him the No. 2 ranking going into the playoffs.
Where McIlroy has been absolutely dominant this season is off the tee. With his M5 driver, McIlroy is gaining an average of +1.215 strokes on the field per round. That’s +.415 strokes better than the next closest golfer on the list (Dustin Johnson: +.800). Rory’s accuracy and length off the tee make him a threat to contend for a second FedEx Cup title.
If there’s one thing you can count on at this time in the golf calendar, it’s that Dustin Johnson will be in the mix. DJ has qualified for the TOUR Championship in 10 of the 12 seasons since the FedEx Cup’s inception, making him the only player to do so.
As mentioned before, DJ ranks second in Strokes Gained-Off the Tee with M5 driver, but he’s also getting it done in other areas. He’s 21st in Strokes Gained-Approach the Green (+.593) and 37th in Strokes Gained-Putting (+.337).
This time last year Tiger Woods was gearing up to make his magical comeback run that culminated with his first win in five years at the TOUR Championship. He added to that incredible performance with a win for the ages at The Masters back in April and knows better than anyone how to close late in the season. Tiger’s 68.27 career scoring average in the playoffs is the best ever for all players with a minimum of 40 rounds played.
Don’t look now, but Jon Rahm is rounding into incredible late-season form. In his last four starts Rahmbo has finished T-3 (U.S. Open), WIN (DDF Irish Open), T-11 (The Open Championship) and 7th (WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitiational). He’s playing at a high level against elite fields in big-time events. He’s been driving it well (he ranks fourth in SG: OTT) with M5 driver and is making tons of birdies (his 4.30 birdie average ranks seventh on Tour).
He also has a solid track record in the playoffs. Rahm’s 68.60 scoring average is the best of all players with at least 30 rounds in the playoffs since 2012. Translation: Rahm is primed and ready for a playoff push.
Jason Day is currently 40th in the FedEx Cup standings and has some ground to make up over the coming weeks if he wants to advance to the TOUR Championship. If history is any indication, he’s in good shape.
Day’s cumulative score of 227-under par in the playoffs is the best in history and he also holds the record for most top-25s (29).
Rickie Fowler and Chez Reavie are squarely in the mix, ranking 13th and 14th, respectively, to start the playoffs.
To reach this stage of the season you have to be consistent. Since turning pro it’s hard to find a more consistent performer in golf than Collin Morikawa. The Team TaylorMade staffer has yet to finish outside the top-40 in the seven events he’s played and broke through for his first win on Tour at the Barracuda Championship on July 28.
Morikawa does not have enough measured rounds for his stats to officially qualify in a ranking system, but his ball striking prowess with his P730 irons has become his calling card. If he had enough measured rounds, Morikawa’s +1.158 Strokes Gained-Approach The Green would be the best on Tour.
Matthew Wolff will bring his potent mix of length off the tee (310.5-yard average driving distance) and precision with his irons and wedges (70.89% GIR) into the playoffs for the first time. Wolff has recorded two top-25 finishes since his breakthrough win at the 3M Open in July.
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