After 45 regular-season tournaments and three Playoff events, we've reached the zenith of the 2016-2017 PGA TOUR season, as the crowning event in the FedExCup Playoffs is underway this week at the TOUR Championship.
Over the course of the last month, a playoff field that started with 120 players has been pared down to 30, all of whom now have a chance to capture the season-long FedExCup crown with a TOUR Championship victory.
The favorite to take home all the marbles this year is Titleist Brand Ambassador Jordan Spieth (Pro V1x). Spieth currently sits in the No. 1 spot in the FedExCup points standings (which were readjusted after the BMW Championship) and he's looking to become just the second player in history to win two FedExCup titles. Spieth, the 2015 FedExCup champion, fired a 3-under-par 67 in the opening round at Eastlake GC, but noted that a good start is not necessarily the most important factor as we come down to the wire.
"If you get off to a great start, great," said Spieth, "but you get into the thick of things here on the weekend and it takes a lot out of you. Mainly at this point it's conserving energy. [In] 2014 and 2016, especially 2014 I remember being completely worn out by the time I got to the Tour Championship. But things feel good. If it were a major championship I would be very pleased with where things are."
At last year's TOUR Championship the front and back nine holes were reversed on Eastlake's par-70, 7, 362-yard layout, resulting in a dramatic finish that prompted tournament officials to make the change permanent. With it's finishing stretch of risk/reward holes and ideal scoring conditions (20 players recording scores under par on Thursday), the stage has been set for another thrilling conclusion to the PGA TOUR season.
Good luck to all of #TeamTitleist in Atlanta!
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TITLEIST BY THE NUMBERS
This week at the TOUR Championship, Titleist is once again the golf ball of choice, with 60% of players in the limited field of 30 trusting a Titleist Pro V1 or Pro V1x golf ball, three times the nearest competitor with 20% and more than all competitors combined.
Titleist was also the top choice among players in the hybrids category (7) as well as the irons category with nine sets in play. Vokey Design Wedges also topped the approach, sand and lob wedge (41) category and Scotty Cameron putters were the top choice among players with 14 putters in play.
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- After the top-30 players qualified for the TOUR Championship, a points reset took place, giving all players in the field a mathematical opportunity to win the FedExCup title. The top-five players (including Titleist Brand Ambassadors Jordan Spieth (No.1) and Justin Thomas (No. 2) control their own destiny and would claim the FedExCup with a victory at East Lake.
- The 2017 TOUR Championship will mark the 31st playing of the event and the 11th since the PGA TOUR launched the FedExCup season-long points race, all of which have culminated at East Lake Golf Club.
- Bobby Jones, regarded by many as the game’s greatest amateur golfer, was a founding member of East Lake Golf Club. To honor the memory of the Atlanta native, Grand Slam champion and co-creator of The Masters, the Calamity Jane, the putter Jones used to win the Grand Slam, will become the official trophy of the TOUR Championship moving forward.
- Dating back to the 2014 Dell Technologies Championship, 11 of the last 14 winners in the FedExCup Playoffs have been under the age of 30, and the last three FedExCup champions, including Titleist Pro V1x golf ball loyalist Billy Horschel (2014) and Titleist Brand Ambassador Jordan Spieth (2015) are in their 20s.
- Twelve rookies finished the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season ranked within the top 125 in FedExCup points and earned their first start at The Northern Trust. Of that group, only two have advanced to this week’s TOUR Championship and are still alive in the FedExCup Playoffs, including Titleist Brand Ambassador Patrick Cantlay, who finshed T9 at last week's BMW Championship.
- Three players, including Titleist Brand Ambassador Jordan Spieth have recorded top-10 finishes in the three FedExCup Playoffs events this season. Only four players have finished inside the top 10 in all four FedExCup Playoffs events in a single season including Titleist golf ball loyalists Rory Sabbatini in 2007 and Padraig Harrington in 2009 as well as Titleist Brand Ambassadors Adam Scott in 2016.
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PLAYERS TO WATCH THIS WEEK:
- With runner-up finishes in his the first two FedExCup Playoffs events of the season and a T7 finish at last week's BMW Championship, Titleist Brand Ambassador Jordan Spieth (Pro V1x) enters the TOUR Championship ranked first in the standings. The 11-time PGA TOUR winner reclaimed the No. 1 position in the FedExCup standings three weeks ago at TPC Boston. He is seeking to become only the second multiple winner of the FedExCup. His FedExCup finishes: 2013 (7), 2014 (15), 2015 (1), 2016 (9), 2017 (currently 1st).
• If Spieth wins the TOUR Championship, he wins the FedExCup.
• He has a reasonable chance of winning with a top-6 finish.
• He can finish as low as 29th and still have a mathematical chance of winning.
- Titleist Brand Ambassador Justin Thomas (Pro V1x), currently No. 2 in the FedExCup standings, claimed his sixth PGA TOUR victory (including a TOUR-best five this season) at the Dell Technologies Championship. By doing so, he became the fourth player since 1960 to capture five wins, including a major, in a season before the age of 25. Here’s a look at Thomas’ year-by-year FedExCup finishes: 2015 (No. 32), 2016 (No. 12).
• If Thomas wins the TOUR Championship, he wins the FedExCup
• He has a reasonable chance of winning with a top-3 finish.
• He can finish as low as 9th and still have a mathematical chance of winning.
- Titleist golf ball loyalist Rickie Fowler (Pro V1) recorded nine top-10 finishes in 17 starts in the 2016-17 PGA Tour season, tied for most top-10s for the season with Justin Thomas heading into the FedExCup Playoffs. Fowler, who is coming off a runner-up finish at last week's BMW Championship, won The Honda Classic for his fourth PGA TOUR title and enters this week at No. 6 in FedExCup points standings. He's made 25 playoff starts and has advanced to the Tour Championship for the fourth time in his career after competing at Eastlake in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
• Fowler wins the FedExCup if he wins the TOUR Championship and...
• Jordan Spieth (#1) finishes T2 or worse
• He can finish 2nd and still have a mathematical chance of winning the FedExCup.
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Good morning from to the TOUR Championship…
…and Atlanta's East Lake Golf Club, host course for the TOUR Championship.
To the champion this week go some special spoils.
Let's take a look at the Titleist Brand Ambassadors and golf ball loyalists who made it among the top-30.
There a several good reasons that Jordan Spieth is ranked No. 1 in the standings.
Not to mention the fact that his heart is in the right place.
In Round 1, Jordan was paired with his good friend and fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Justin Thomas (Pro V1x) who comes to Atlanta in the No. 2 spot. We're hoping for much more of this in years to come.
This week marked a special milestone for Vokey Wedge representative Aaron Dill - the release on Vokey WedgeWorks of the very first Vokey Design wedge designed by Aaron, the AD-siXty.
A great BMW Championship highlight from last week featuring Titleist Brand Ambassador Charley Hoffman, who enters the TOUR Championship in the lucky No. 13 position.
This is how Titleist Brand Ambassador Patrick Cantlay (Pro V1x) earned his first trip to the Tour Championship.
Titleist Brand Ambassador Russell Henley (Pro V1x) and Pro V1 loyalist Jhonattan Vegas enjoyed some Braves action while visiting Atlanta.
Titleist Pro V1 loyalist Rickie Fowler came out firing at pins on Thursday.
Titleist Brand Ambassador Jason Dufner (Pro V1x) enters the TOUR Championship at No. 30 in the reshuffled rankings. In this clip he shares his thoughts on hitting wedges:
Titleist golf ball loyalist Kyle Stanley (Pro V1) jumped out the gates with a 6-under-par 64 on Thursday to take the early lead.
And right on his heels, Titleist Brand Ambassador Webb Simpson (Pro V1), who's peaking at just the right time.
Good luck to all of #TeamTitleist this weekend and thanks to all the players for a remarkable season!