Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas are both eyeing the FedEx Cup and Player of the Year.
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas are both excited to start the final four FedExCup events. The FedExCup and the playoff events could determine PGA TOUR Player of The Year, which is voted on by the PGA TOUR membership. Winning the cup standings after the Tour Championship, both think, could seal the deal.
“It’s a close race right now. I think it’s between four guys, in my opinion,” Spieth replied when asked about Player of The Year voting. He did not say which four, but one presumes it includes the top four on the current points list, which means it would be Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama.
“It’s cool. It’s fun. But I’d much rather hear you say that four events later than probably now,” Thomas said when asked about his potential to become Player of The Year. “There could be a guy that’s not even in contention that wins three or four events and he wins.”
Thomas and Spieth are good friends, and this year are separated by a single victory, with Spieth having two PGA TOUR titles and the Open Championship this season and Thomas having three PGA TOUR titles and the PGA Championship.
However, Thomas’ first victory was in the fall season of 2016, although that is part of the 2016-2017 wrap-around PGA TOUR Schedule. That’s why position on the FedExCup list, which used to be the money list, is important in the end. And the money list has always been of great significance in the minds of PGA TOUR players when it comes to that vote.
Player of the Year honors
Either Spieth or Thomas could secure Player of The Year by winning the FedExCup since the FedEx points now replace the money list, which was the measure of strength in all past years. Should Spieth win one of the playoff events, it definitely throws the voting into tie territory. If Thomas does not pass him in points in the next four weeks, Spieth might still pull it out.
Spieth sees the Player of the Year award as a tremendous honor.
"It’s the MVP. You’re the MVP of the league. It’s something that you want really badly, and you want to be considered the best player in pretty much in the world for that year, is essentially what the award is, on the PGA TOUR."
Thomas put the FedExCup in a special category.
"It’s the No. 1 priority now since the majors are done. If you ask someone, would you rather win a major or a FedExCup, they are both life-changers. They are both unbelievable accomplishments. They are both something that a lot of people won’t do in their career, a lot of great players won’t do."
FedEx Cup v Tour Championship
At this juncture, it’s important to remember that there can be a winner at the Tour Championship who is not a winner of the FedExCup. In 2009, for example, Tiger Woods won the FedExCup, and Phil Mickelson won the Tour Championship. That would make the balloting equally messy.
Spieth explained the strategy:
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"The idea for the next three Tour events is to get yourself into the top five in Atlanta, so you can control your own destiny. It’s a fight and it’s something that is keeping me going out and grinding at the end of a really good season."
Thomas is fully focused on notching the FedEx Cup for himself.
"I want to win this tournament this week just as much as I wanted to win the PGA or just as much as I want to win the FedExCup. At this point in the season, especially, knowing there’s four events left, and I have a chance to win the FedExCup and kind of be, I guess, in the annals of history or whatever, yeah, I guess you could say I’m as motivated as I could be."
Right now, there are three other players poised to take the FedExCup title away from them: Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama and Rickie Fowler.
If that happens, then it comes down to who has the most PGA TOUR victories and who leads in FedExCup points and/ or money at the end of the season.