Jordan Spieth has said finishing runner-up over the next two weeks on the PGA Tour would suit him just fine.
The British Open champion is coming off two consecutive runner-up finishes, after losing a playoff to Dustin Johnson at the Northern Trust and then falling to Justin Thomas at the Dell Technologies Championship.
He tops the standings in the season-long points race going into the final two events of the FedExCup playoffs, and a pair of second-placings would crown him champion and earn the $10 million bonus that goes with it, barring an unlikely set of circumstances.
“On the PGA Tour I can’t call (finishing second) a bad thing,” 2015 FedExCup champion Spieth said on the eve of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms outside Chicago.
“If I finish runner-up this week I will (probably) accomplish the goal of being number one going into East Lake.”
With three major titles under his belt already at 24, he observed that he had a chance for a very special career.
“If I have the year I have this year the next 15 years, I’ll be the greatest player to ever play the game, if you judge it by major championships,” he said.
Thomas, meanwhile, has a spring in his step, not only due to his last-start victory, but also because his south Florida home was not damaged by Hurricane Irma. A five-times winner this season, he has found a level where only a bad short game or an off week with the putter prevents him from contending.
“I’m not making the stupid mistakes the weeks I play well,” he said. “I’ve been consistently driving it better this year. I’m always going to be in contention if I’m chipping and putting well.”
Thomas had to vacate his home last week due to a mandatory evacuation of his Jupiter, Florida neighbourhood.
Before doing so, he transferred some valuables, including the PGA Championship Wanamaker Trophy, to a sturdy safe at his friend and rival Rickie Fowler’s house.
Thomas is second in the FedExCup standings, with world number one Johnson third, followed by Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and Spaniard Jon Rahm.
The top five heading into next week’s Tour Championship will control their own fate, meaning a victory at East Lake in Atlanta will also lock up the FedExCup.
Seventy players will compete in Lake Forest this week, with only 30 advancing to the Tour Championship.
Day dumps life-long caddie after slump in form
The caddie merry-go-round continued when former world number one Jason Day revealed on Wednesday that he has sacked long-time bagman Col Swatton. Swatton has been a father-figure for Day, doubling as caddie and coach – a role he will maintain – for the 29-year-old Australian’s entire career. Day acknowledged that Swatton had been a “bit shocked” at the news but said he had taken it like a professional. “Unfortunately it just didn’t work out,” Day told Golf Channel on the eve of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms, outside Chicago. “I’m trying to find my footing here. I had to do it at some point.”
Day was clearly the best player in the world for the second half of 2015 and the first part of 2016, clinching his first major at the PGA Championship, but has struggled in relative terms lately, slipping to his current ranking of ninth. Something had to give, and as so often is the case, it was the caddie. Day, who plans to use a friend, Luke Reardon, on the bag this week, said he planned to keep Swatton as his coach. “He’s just coming off the bag and going to more of a coaching role,” Day said. “He’s not out of my world one bit. I’m hoping things move forward with us like they always have... because we both love each other like family.” Day was 12 years old when he met Swatton at an Australian golf academy, and Day has often said he would not be where he is without his mentor. Swatton even played matchmaker by introducing Day to his now-wife, Ellie. The news comes a month after another former world number one, Rory McIlroy, dumped his caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald.
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