Come back to me on Monday! McIlroy unsure on revamped Tour Championship format

By Sports Desk August 21, 2019

Rory McIlroy is uncertain if the new format of the Tour Championship will help establish the FedEx Cup finale as an elite competition comparable to golf's four majors.

Justin Thomas will take a two-stroke lead into the end-of-season tournament at East Lake after the format was altered.

Instead of a points reset for the Tour Championship, players will start on different scores – with Thomas, who claimed a three-shot win at the BMW Championship - top of the 30-player leaderboard before the event begins on Thursday.

Though McIlroy sees the benefits of the new format, the four-time major winner is unsure over if the rule change is the best way to improve the prestige of the Tour Championship.

"If the FedEx Cup wants to have this legacy in the game like other championships do, is people starting the tournament on different numbers the best way to do it?" McIlroy said in a news conference.

"That's my only thing. I get it from a fan experience and giving guys who have played better through the year an advantage, but at the same time, I don't know.

"It'll make it sweeter for a guy who starts at even or one-under-par and goes through all the field and wins. Come back to me on Monday and I'll tell you whether it's worked or not."

McIlroy will start in fifth on the leaderboard, with Patrick Reed (-6), Brooks Koepka (-7) and Patrick Cantlay (-8) between the Northern Irishman and Thomas, who is at 10 under.

"Everyone's goal coming into this week was to be on that 10-under mark," added McIlroy. "Obviously, JT is there and there's a couple of guys between myself and him.

"It's a different format this year, it's more the psychology of it. I'm starting five back, but it's very different. We're all creatures of habit and it seems very different that you're starting at a different position to the rest of the field.

"At the same time, you have to just control what you can, play the best golf that you can and hopefully if you play four good rounds then that's the lowest number at the end of the week.

"In past Tour Championships, guys from 15 to 30 had a chance to win the Championship but not really the FedEx Cup. I think those guys have a much better chance this week. I can see a scenario where 15 guys have a chance to win the entire thing.

"It'll be exciting, it'll be different, but you've just got to go out there and play good golf, not look at what other guys are doing and trust that by the end of the week things will even out."

Related items

  • An fires another 66 to edge clear at Sanderson Farms Championship An fires another 66 to edge clear at Sanderson Farms Championship

    Byeong Hun An carded another six-under 66 to open up a two-stroke lead as the second round of the Sanderson Farms Championship was suspended.

    The South Korean continued his fine start at the Country Club of Jackson on Friday, moving into 12 under after his second straight 66.

    An started his round with four consecutive birdies before finding water to bogey the par-five fifth.

    The 28-year-old recovered with back-to-back birdies at eight and nine before picking up another shot at the 17th.

    An holds a two-shot lead over J.T. Poston (70), George McNeill (67), Scottie Scheffler (66) and Tom Hoge (70).

    Hoge and Scheffler are coming off strong showings at the Greenbrier Classic, where they finished second and tied for seventh respectively.

    Inclement weather led to a delay on the opening day and darkness meant 57 players were unable to finish their second rounds.

    Cameron Percy is the best-placed of those yet to get through 36 holes, sitting at nine under through 11 and in outright sixth.

    Carlos Ortiz (71) and Harris English (71) are tied for seventh at eight under, alongside Seamus Power, who is through 11.

    Joaquin Niemann, the 20-year-old Chilean who won the Greenbrier Classic, is back at four under through 16 holes in his second round.

  • McIlroy scrambles to make Wentworth cut as Rahm, Willett lead McIlroy scrambles to make Wentworth cut as Rahm, Willett lead

    Rory McIlroy scraped into the weekend at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, where Jon Rahm and Danny Willett claimed a share of the lead through 36 holes.

    McIlroy's first round had unravelled in spectacular fashion as he carded a four-over-par 76, leaving him with plenty of work to do when he headed back out onto the course on Friday.

    The world number two needed to get back to one over to make the cut but saw his early progress, with two birdies in four holes, checked by a bogey at the fifth.

    McIlroy was still two strokes shy of his target with five holes remaining but picked up shots at the par-three 14th and par-four 16th to get the job done.

    "I guess I played a bit better today - while still not quite feeling in sync with everything," McIlroy told Sky Sports.

    "I battled well, the conditions were a lot trickier out there today than they were yesterday [Thursday]. I definitely didn't think I was going to get into a position where I didn't need to birdie either of the [last two] holes coming in."

    McIlroy will still require a remarkable turnaround to have any hope of challenging leaders Rahm and Willett over the next two days, though.

    Rahm had already been in contention with a 66 on Thursday but started poorly with bogeys at the first and second.

    A fine recovery followed, with four birdies on the bounce, yet he was still two shots shy of Willett's clubhouse target of 11 under for the week until a superb eagle at the last.

    Willett might have been in an even stronger position, having been five under for the day through five and eight under through 12, signing for seven under as his form faltered on the way back.

    He acknowledged: "I'm probably not back to my best, and I'm still working on the moves and there's still shots in there that I don't like."

    Home hopeful Justin Rose is two shots back and is joined in a tie for third by Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Henrik Stenson, while Francesco Molinari and Patrick Reed are both in the top 20.

    Matt Wallace had led overnight but collapsed completely with seven bogeys in a four-over round.

    Tommy Fleetwood, like McIlroy, came close to missing the cut, albeit in different fashion - carding a three-over 75 on a disappointing day.

  • Hoge earns lead before weather halts Sanderson Farms Championship Hoge earns lead before weather halts Sanderson Farms Championship

    Tom Hoge set the early pace before weather wreaked havoc on day one of the Sanderson Farms Championship.

    Hoge carded an eight-under-par 64 for a one-stroke lead in Jackson, Mississippi, where severe storms forced play to be suspended on Thursday.

    The opening round will resume at 0700 (local time) on Friday, with Hoge ahead of Robert Streb, Cameron Percy and Seamus Power.

    Hoge – still eyeing his first PGA Tour victory – finished his round and enjoyed a flawless day, holing eight birdies to top the leaderboard.

    Fellow American Streb was also bogey-free as he ended the round level alongside Australia's Percy and Irishman Power, who dropped shots throughout their 18.

    Zac Blair is three shots off the pace following his 67, with Emiliano Grillo, Zach Johnson, Mark Anderson, An Byeong-hun (through 11) and J.T. Poston (through eight) also five under.

    Defending champion Cameron Champ opened his bid for back-to-back titles by going one under through eight holes.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.