Woods and McIlroy headline in Boston
One down, three to go in the FedEx Cup play-offs and September’s feast of golf is only going to get better as the world’s best battle for 2018 supremacy on the PGA Tour.
This week the field head to Boston where a former Champion Golfer of the Year has an enviable record, while another is confident of a first win in five years.
Over on the European Tour, the Ryder Cup is again looming in the background as the field have one last chance to secure an automatic place in Thomas Bjorn’s team.
Here’s what to look out for this weekend:
Tiger closing in
He’s proven he can compete again, so now it’s a case of when, not if, for Tiger Woods’ first tournament victory of his comeback - and the American insists he is close.
The three-time Champion Golfer of the Year struggled with the putter last week in New Jersey at The Northern Trust and finished in a tie for 40th, alongside another Champion Golfer in Zach Johnson.
But Woods went close at the PGA Championship earlier this month and so memorably led The 147th Open at Carnoustie in July.
"I'm sure you guys are used to seeing me win five times a year or more, but it's not that easy to win out here," he added.
"That's what you're seeing is that I'm close and just one shot here, one shot there, per day, flips momentum.
"That's what either I had been missing or I had got and I would lose it. It's just looking for one shot a day here and there, and you just never know when that shot may come, early in the front nine, late in the back nine, but it's not that far."
Refreshed Rory ready to charge
Rory McIlroy skipped the first FedEx Cup play-off tournament and took a week off to recharge the batteries. He’s now back at a tournament he excels at.
2018 has been a frustrating season for the 2014 Champion Golfer of the Year. Not because he’s been out of form, but because he has been unable to capitalise when has played well.
McIlroy has added the Arnold Palmer Invitational to his trophy cabinet this season but the fact he went close in both the Masters and The Open last month shows how well he has played this year.
The 29-year-old has the Ryder Cup to prepare for later this month and can still sign off on a high in the FedEx Cup – starting at the Dell Technologies Championship.
McIlroy is a two-time winner at TPC Boston and is the course’s all-time earnings leader, and can expect to improve on his current 28th-place in the FedEx Cup standings if he plays well this week.
Justin chases history
When Justin Thomas won the Dell Technologies Championship by three strokes a year ago, he was the king of the world.
The 25-year-old had just secured his first major at the PGA Championship and was on his way to five tournament wins in a season.
2018 has been slower going than 2017 but Thomas still has three trophies in his cabinet and, although he has no major this year, he could still create a bit of history.
No player has ever defended the Dell Technologies Championship and Thomas is one of the heavy favourites to win this week and improve on his third place in the current FedEx Cup standings.
Ryder Cup race comes to an end
It is fitting that the last tournament before automatic qualification for Team Europe’s Ryder Cup team is confirmed comes from captain Thomas Bjorn’s home course.
Bjorn will know eight of his 12-strong team by Sunday afternoon, although as a player himself this week he hopes he can celebrate by adding an extra trophy to the cabinet.
The field is stacked with quality and again includes 1995 Champion Golfer of the Year John Daly, fresh from shooting his lowest European Tour round in nine years at the Czech Masters last week.
Practice Day tickets are still available for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019 and remember, when you buy your tickets for The Open with Mastercard, you will receive a £5 discount per transaction.