Jordan Spieth Loves East Lake and Eyes FedExCup

LAKE FOREST, IL - SEPTEMBER 14: Jordan Spieth hits his tee shot on the second hole during the first round of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club on September 14, 2017 in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Greg Shamus/Getty Images)
LAKE FOREST, IL - SEPTEMBER 14: Jordan Spieth hits his tee shot on the second hole during the first round of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club on September 14, 2017 in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Greg Shamus/Getty Images) /

Jordan Spieth has emerged from the FedEx Cup Playoffs in control of his own fate. With the TOUR Championship about to begin, that’s all he’s focusing on.

Jordan Spieth doesn’t know all the scenarios for who could win the FedEx Cup, and he doesn’t want to.  He wants to focus on winning it for the second time.

“I think players are more focused on the FedEx Cup than the Tour Championship,” he said Wednesday in his pre-tournament interview.

“I don’t think the top six or seven guys are focused on me at all,” he continued. “I think that’s where they’re focused on the Tour Championship.”

After that, he suggested that they were trying to figure out how to pull a Bill Haas type victory. Haas started the week in 25th position and beat Hunter Mahan in a playoff to win both the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.

Spieth, though, is taking the week as seriously as he would a major.  He has his coach Cameron McCormick on site, and the two of them are fine-tuning one of the best games in the world, trying to work just the right amount in 90-degree heat and Georgia humidity.

“There is a fine line, and I’ve kind of teetered on good and overdone,” he explained about his workload. “We had a great, I thought a really great plan that we put in place at the Open Championship.”

However, at the PGA, it didn’t work, perhaps because of the heat.

"“The PGA, I maybe did a little bit too much when it was that hot,” he added. “It may sound like I’m 24 and I shouldn’t worry about it, but you can really tell the difference physically and mentally by the time the weekend rolls around if you’ve overdone it early in the week.”"

As far as the tournament itself, he thinks the 14th and 15th holes will likely determine the outcome of the tournament.  The key, he noted, is to hit the center of the greens, particularly the 14th, 16th and 17th.

“Those greens are almost impossible to hit if you miss the fairway, so driving becomes a key,” he noted.

Two things Spieth has in his favor are that he loves EastLake, and he loves playing on Bermudagrass, a turf that is seldom the surface on the PGA Tour.

"“What do I like about East Lake? East Lake and Augusta remind me a lot of each other,” he said as he began in his description of the two places two weeks ago. “You have a really well-designed golf course where the fairways slope against the ball flight that you need off the tee, and then the greens remind me of each other with the slope, the speed and the bunkering around them.”"

However, they are dissimilar a few ways.

Jordan Spieth TOUR Championship FedEx Cup
(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images) /

"“East Lake has a lot more rough, which is very different from Augusta, and the greens aren’t quite as severe, fast, but I just like the layout of it,” Spieth continued. “I like the shots that it makes you play off the tee and things into the green you can be bold or you can play safe but with the green shapes, when you play safe, you’re left with a tough two-putt.”"

East Lake is, according to Spieth, a risk/reward type course that kind of sneaks up on you.

"“The excitement from 5 really — well, the old No. 5, which is now 14– playing such a massive role in the finish of a tournament, on probably the hardest par 3 we play all year given when it is now and what tournament it’s at, it’s certainly adds a lot to it with No. 9 — or 18 as well,” he added."

Originally, the Tour Championship was played with the nines ending so that the 18th hole was a par three.  Now the nines have been switched so that the tournament now ends on a par five, which was old number nine and is now the 18th.

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Spieth, who is recognized as a great putter, really likes the putting surfaces at EastLake.

“I like the way that I read Bermuda greens,” he said. “I feel very confident when I step over the putt that I have the right read and that varies from course to course.”

The uneven lies play into his hand also, requiring more feel.

"“I think that’s better for me, the less I’m thinking about my golf swing and trying to be perfect and more feeling ball flights off of uneven slopes in the fairways,” he explained. “And that’s similar to Augusta and I think that’s why I play well there even if I wasn’t playing well going into it.”"

While he doesn’t have to win the Tour Championship to win the FedExCup, he can’t afford to finish, he probably needs  to finish ahead of those in the top five to be certain of the FedExCup prize.

Next: The TOUR Championship: Power Rankings

Can Spieth become just the second player to win two FedEx Cup titles this week at East Lake? We’ll be keeping up with all the action from the TOUR Championship until the trophy is awarded.