Rose looking to bloom at Tour Championship
The FedEx Cup play-offs reach a dramatic denouement with the Tour Championship and for five men the opportunity to clinch the $10million bonus entirely is entirely in their own hands.
Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas all know that victory at East Lake Golf Club will be enough to see them lift the FedEx Cup.
Every man in the field is still mathematically in with a chance of becoming the overall FedEx Cup winner but with 30 of the world’s best players competing in Atlanta, achieving victory will be easier said than done.
New No.1 Rose in bloom
Twenty years after memorably winning the Silver Medal at Royal Birkdale, Rose achieved another lifelong dream by reaching number one in the world rankings earlier this month.
After not playing in a tournament last week, the Tour Championship will be his first competition as world No.1 and he would dearly love to mark the occasion with a tenth career win on the PGA Tour.
Victory would also see him top the FedEx Cup rankings and pick up the hefty $10m bonus but the 38-year-old – who finished tied for second at The Open at Carnoustie in July – won’t change his approach.
"Reaching No.1 is a moment in your career that you always remember and cherish," he said. “I've always said whether you're defending champion at a tournament or if you've played somewhere well the previous year or if you're world No.1, the golf course doesn't recognise it.
"So, from my point of view, I want to enjoy playing my first event as world No.1 but I also understand that really nothing should change.
“Good consistent golf is what's got me to the top, and now the challenge is to stay there doing the same stuff.
"I'd love to end the year as world No.1, I'd say that's a goal. But if I lose it between now and then, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it because it is so tight at the top. Literally, if I finish seventh this week and Brooks [Koepka] finishes sixth, he'll go to No.1, so it is that tight."
Tiger ready to roar
Tiger Woods appears to be inching ever closer to a maiden tournament win since his return from injury and East Lake is a course he has performed well at in the past – with a victory and four runner-up finishes to his name.
And the three-time Champion Golfer says he feels close to completing the jigsaw after returning to an old driver shaft earlier this month.
“My last piece was the driver," he said. "As you've seen throughout the summer, that was the only piece that was missing.
“Lo and behold I find one at Ridgewood, went back to an old shaft, same thing I put in my three-wood and five-wood, the shaft I know. Next thing you know today I hit 13 fairways."
Tiger Woods back at the @playofffinale at @eastlakegc for the first time since 2013. Says he feels he’s exceeded most of his goals for the season already, even without a win. pic.twitter.com/hCH1cwFTM5— Justin Felder (@Justin_FOX5) September 19, 2018
However, even if he wins at East Lake, Woods would need current leader Bryson DeChambeau to finish tied-15th or worse and a number of other contenders to falter if he is to lift the FedEx Cup.
On the other side of the Atlantic, a field with plenty of Open pedigree are ready to tackle the Portugal Masters at Oceanico Victoria.
It’s the final European Tour event before the Ryder Cup and two-time runner-up at The Open Sergio Garcia is a late entrant in order to find some form ahead of the clash with Team USA next week.
Another one of Thomas Bjorn’s team, Thorbjorn Olesen, will also be teeing it up in Portugal and the Dane is a man in form.
Winner of the 2011 Masters, Charl Schwartzel, is also in the field, while two-time Champion Golfer of the Year Padraig Harrington has also found form of late and will be gunning for a first European Tour win since triumphing at this very event two years ago