JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Jon Rahm has competed within the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs sufficient occasions to understand how the system works.
And he does not prefer it.
“I do not assume it is truthful,” Rahm mentioned Friday after a 4-under-par 67 gave him a 1-shot lead over Tony Finau by way of 36 holes on the Northern Belief, the primary of three playoff occasions that conclude in two weeks on the Tour Championship.
Ranked No. 1 on the earth, Rahm is fifth in FedEx Cup factors and would go to the highest spot if he wins the match. One other victory subsequent week on the BMW Championship would make him an awesome FedEx Cup factors chief.
However it might give him solely a small benefit the next week in Atlanta, when the highest 30 gamers are reset in keeping with their factors place. The highest participant begins at 10 underneath, whereas the subsequent participant is 8 underneath, with numerous breakdowns all the way down to the underside 5 gamers beginning at even par.
The system, in its third yr, mirrors what would have been a factors distribution and permits for there to be one winner of the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup. Beforehand the Tour Championship had a winner with the opportunity of a separate FedEx Cup winner.
“I do not like that in any respect,” mentioned Rahm, who has performed 36 holes with no bogey at Liberty Nationwide. “No. I feel you will have the playoffs itself, and for those who win the primary two and for those who do not play good within the final one … you possibly can find yourself with a very unhealthy end.
“I do not prefer it. I perceive the system. And the best way I used to be advised by one of many PGA Tour officers, [if] I am a Patriots followers and the Patriots win every little thing to get to the Tremendous Bowl they usually do not win the Tremendous Bowl, you do not win the Lombardi trophy, proper?
“My reply was, they nonetheless completed second. They’ve to know that golf is completely different.”
Rahm, who’s from Spain and attended Arizona State, has an excellent understanding of soccer — or American sports activities generally. The group with the very best document will get no huge benefit over its opponent within the playoffs, other than maybe house area.
To Rahm’s level, a golfer may win each match all yr and would nonetheless have only a 2-stroke benefit on the Tour Championship.
The tour has sought to steadiness having some volatility throughout its playoff occasions whereas additionally rewarding gamers for a robust season. Collin Morikawa, for instance, missed the minimize on the Northern Belief. Ranked No. 1 in FedEx factors, the Open Championship winner is projected to drop to No. 6.
However he’ll simply qualify for each the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship, no matter his outcomes. In a real playoff, he is likely to be completed, however the tour desires those that have sturdy years to be in Atlanta.
“I perceive it is for TV functions and pleasure and simply making it extra of a winner-take-all they usually offer you a 2-shot benefit, however over 4 days that may be gone in two holes,” Rahm mentioned. “I do not know what system is greatest. I do like going to East Lake with this new one within the sense of understanding the place you stand and what it’s a must to do. In years prior, there have been so many various mixtures of what may occur. It was exhausting to get your head targeted on one factor.
“However I do not assume it is a truthful system in that sense now, nevertheless it’s the one we have now and it is what we have to cope with.”
For now, Rahm can solely fear concerning the match at hand, and whereas he has produced a mix of nice pictures and nice saves to achieve 12-under 130, he nonetheless has his arms full.
“Consider it or not, hit my fair proportion of unhealthy pictures in the present day,” Rahm mentioned. “Very similar to yesterday, I used to be in a position to save a few good ones. … Coming into the weekend, I am positively going to have to scrub a few these errors up.”
Finau had a 64 with a bogey on the ultimate gap as he tries to safe one other spot among the many 30 who make it to the season-ending Tour Championship, together with boosting his bid to play his means onto one other Ryder Cup group.
Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele tied his private greatest on the PGA Tour and the course document at Liberty Nationwide with a 62 and was within the group at 10-under 132 together with Justin Thomas (69) and Keith Mitchell (64).
Thomas, who shared the 18-hole lead with Rahm, could not work out which means the ball was getting in making 4 bogeys in eight holes, solely to play his final 5 holes in 5 underneath — that included an eagle on the par-5 eighth — to remain within the combine.
Mitchell did his work firstly of his spherical by working off six straight birdies, a streak that ended on the 18th gap as he made the flip. He took two pictures to get out of an extended bunker and made double bogey on No. 7, solely to shut with two birdies. Extra is at stake for Mitchell, who’s No. 101 within the FedEx Cup and desires a excessive end to be among the many high 70 who advance to subsequent week on the BMW Championship.
Jordan Spieth acquired again within the recreation with consecutive eagles — he holed out from the green on the par-4 fifth and holed a chip from the sting of the water on the par-5 sixth — and tied the course document himself at 62. That left him 4 pictures behind, together with Brooks Koepka (64).
Spieth began the day apprehensive about making the minimize, particularly after a bogey on the opening gap. He ended it in a tie for tenth, and figures he led the sector in luck with these eagles.
“When issues beginning properly, you go on a run, proper? You get momentum and the ball finds the cup and when it is not going properly it bounces the unsuitable means,” he mentioned. “I really feel like I am on the correct facet of some momentum proper now and I simply must preserve it going.”
For others, their season is over. Adam Scott, who missed a 4-foot putt in a playoff that might have received the Wyndham Championship final week, adopted a gap 67 with a 75 to overlook the minimize by 1 shot. He was amongst 28 gamers exterior the highest 70 within the FedEx Cup who missed the minimize.
The Related Press contributed to this report.