Off the Tee: 2019 PGA Tour Championship Preview
It's been a PGA Tour season that began with a revamped lineup of major tournaments and is now ending with an abbreviated playoff run.
Stop two of the playoffs belonged to Justin Thomas who tied a course record in round one of the BMW Championship and then broke the course record at Medinah in round three, en route to a three-shot win.
Before we talked about Thomas' red hot play I asked Joel about his thoughts on the shorter playoff schedule this year:
Thomas is now in the driver's seat heading into this week's Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Course in Atlanta where the field is cut from 70 players to 30.
In fact, he'll start play Thursday (August 22) with a two-shot lead thanks to another tweak to this year's playoffs series. The 'predetermined scores' are based on performances in the first two playoff events which means Thomas starts at -10, Patrick Cantlay -8, Brooks Koepka -7, Patrick Reed – 6, Rory McIlroy -5 and so on all the way down to the bottom five, who will start at even par.
I asked Joel about the new scoring tweak:
Much of the buzz in golf these days isn't about the playoffs but rather the pace of play as Bryson DeChambeau took more than two minutes to play several shots during the payoff opener in New Jersey.
I asked Joel about whether DeChambeau is now the poster child for slow play or whether he's just being picked on.
We also discussed a new rule change on the European Tour that will start issuing harsher penalties for slow play:
We've probably seen the last of Tiger Woods on an American golf course in 2019. He says he will tee it up in Asia later this year for the debut of the Zozo Championship.
There is one final opportunity for Tiger to play this year. As Captain of Team USA at the December's President's Cup in Australia, he could use one of the four at-large picks to add himself to the roster alongside automatic qualifiers Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, and Bryson DeChambeau.
All-in-all it was a year of lackluster play from Tiger as he struggled physically to stay at the top of his game. The one exception, of course, was his win at The Masters in April.
But beyond that Joel believes the former number-one player in the world just isn't physically capable of playing on the tour full time anymore: