Why Morikawa and Thomas are really in The Rocket Mortgage Classic Field.
The stretch between the U.S. Open and The Open is typically quieter as top players prepare for the final Major of the year and then playoffs. That is different this year for a couple reasons.
Last weekend, the Tour stopped at TPC River Highlands for the Travelers Championship, an event with a historically well-rounded field, though it saw the first visit in a couple years for a few star players. Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm didn’t just feel like going to Connecticut to play the soft greens for a weekend though, they went due to the tournament’s newly elevated status to a designated event. Players eligible for them are only permitted to skip one of the 13 designated events per season.
This weekend, expect to see more stars at the Rocket Mortgage Classic than have previously made a stop at the Detroit event since its 2019 introduction.
Two notable field members include Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa.
The reason? Playoffs are on the horizon.
As a reminder, the Tour announced back in August ahead of the 2022-2023 season a thinner pool for FedEx Cup playoffs. The field for the first post-season event, the FedEx St. Jude Championship, has gone from the top 125 players to the top 70 players. The BMW Championship field will be reduced to 50 and the Tour Championship field remains the same at 30.
The PGA Tour also announced back in March that 2024 designated event fields will be comprised of:
- The top 50 players from the 2023 FedEx Cup points list
- The top 10 players not otherwise eligible on the current FedEx Cup standings
- The top five point-earners from the three non-designated events
- 2023-2024 Tour season event winners
- PGA Tour members in the top 30 Official World Golf Ranking
As Jeff Eisenband highlighted, Justin Thomas currently sits at 66th in the FedEx Cup standings, outside of both Tour Championship eligibility and outside of guaranteed eligibility for 2024’s designated Tour events. Collin Morikawa sits just outside of Tour Championship eligibility at 32nd, entering the weekend’s Rocket Mortgage Classic with a great chance to move up the standings list.
Both Thomas and Morikawa have had shakier seasons than in years past, though Thomas’ saw a much-needed boost at the Travelers Championship, where he finished T9.
Morikawa has missed five cuts with four top 10 finishes and Thomas has missed three cuts with three top 10 finishes. Neither have won on Tour this year- the former’s last win coming from the 2021 Open Championship and the latter’s coming from the 2022 PGA Championship.
But as we know, the race for the FedEx Cup is a marathon, not a sprint, and players can take advantage of this weekend and upcoming tournaments to solidify their participation in both playoffs and 2023-2024 designated events.