Rory McIlroy to begin FedExCup Playoffs title defense in Memphis

It’s time for the FedExCup Playoffs.

The PGA Tour’s postseason starts on Thursday with the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind in Memphis, where the top 70 will attempt to extend their season and make it into next week.

Though the top three in the FedExCup standings mimic the top three in the Official World Golf Rankings, though in a different order, there’s plenty of others who are within striking distance — especially considering there are 2,000 points up for grabs for the winner this week.

And with the field cut almost in half from last year, it’s made for a much more competitive battle.

“I would say it’s a little different with it being only 70,” Scottie Scheffler said on Wednesday. “I think it would be more rewarding for the guys that have played the best throughout the year … With the way the points system is with there being, I think, 2,000 points for a win this week, it gives a little bit more of a reward to the guys that have played the most consistent golf over the year.

“But it is strange with there only being 70 guys making the playoffs. We’ll see how it pans out. The FedExCup has changed so much since it’s came into a part of our tour, and it’s a fun way to finish off the year.”

Rory McIlroy, who enters the postseason ranked No. 3 in the standings, will attempt to defend his FedExCup from last season. That was his third FedExCup win, and he followed it up with a DP World Tour season-long title a few weeks later, too.

McIlroy has won twice already this season, and he’s finished inside the top 10 in each of his last seven starts — including a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open and a T6 finish at the British Open.

“It’s been a solid few months of golf,” McIlroy said. “There was a bit of a struggle there sort of around springtime, but yeah, I’ve played really good and feel good coming into this week and having an opportunity to try to win the FedExCup for a fourth time, which is really cool.”

McIlroy and Jon Rahm, who enters the tournament atop the rankings, both officially earned automatic qualifying spots in the European Ryder Cup team on Wednesday, too.

While there’s still a long way to go before the Tour Championship, McIlroy knows how important it is to at least be in range come that final tournament.

“I sort of treat it like a 12-round tournament,” McIlroy said. “You’ve got 12 rounds to play, and you’re trying to go out there and get the best out of yourself for those 12 days.

“I think with the knowledge of even if you have a bad week — so I missed the cut here last year and then was able to bounce back with a good finish at the BMW and then go on and win the Tour Championship. If you’re up there in the standings, at least you know you’ve got a little bit of wiggle room …

“I think at the end of the day, going into the Tour Championship, if you’re sorta within four of the lead starting on Thursday, I think you’re in a really good spot.”

Rory McIlroy trails both Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler headed into the first of three FedExCup Playoffs events

Rory McIlroy trails both Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler headed into the first of three FedExCup Playoffs events. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Tournament Basics

FedEx St. Jude Championship

Where: TPC Southwind | Memphis, Tennessee

Defending Champion: Will Zalatoris

Purse: $20 million

FedExCup Standings

The winner this week in Memphis will earn 2,000 FedExCup points.

No. 1: Jon Rahm (3,320 points)

No. 2: Scottie Scheffler (3,146 points)

No. 3: Rory McIlroy (2,304 points)

No. 4: Max Homa (2,128 points)

No. 5: Wyndham Clark (1,944 points)

No. 6: Brian Harman (1,827 points)

No. 7: Viktor Hovland (1,795 points)

No. 8: Keegan Bradley (1,774 points)

No. 9: Rickie Fowler (1,732 points)

No. 10: Tony Finau (1,655 points)

FedExCup Playoffs Bubble Watch

Only the top 50 in the FedExCup standings will qualify for next week’s BMW Championship.

No. 46: Tom Hoge

No. 47: Mackenzie Hughes

No. 48: Cameron Young

No. 49: Lucas Glover

No. 50: Nick Hardy

— Top 50 qualify for BMW Championship —

No. 51: Alex Smalley

No. 52: Thomas Detry

No. 53: Taylor Montgomery

No. 54: Davis Riley

No. 55: Brandon Wu

Other notable names outside of the top 50 include Hideki Matsuyama, who enters the week at No. 57, and Matt Kuchar, who sits at No. 60.

The top 30 in the standings after the BMW Championship will qualify for the Tour Championship in two weeks at East Lake in Atlanta.

Brian Harman returns after British Open win

Brian Harman is back in the field this week for the first time since his dominant win at Royal Liverpool.

Harman won the British Open by six shots last month to claim his first major championship victory. That launched him into the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings, and to No. 6 in the FedExCup standings.

Though he’s not finished worse than T12 in his last four starts, Harman has spent the last few weeks celebrating.

“[I] was trending before the Open,” Harman said. “Haven’t done a lot the last couple weeks so we’re going to be knocking some rust off for a couple days, but I’m hoping to be ready to go by Thursday.”

For more on Harman’s return, click here.

Jon Rahm backs Jay Monahan, needs more porta-potties

Rahm backed PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan ahead of Tuesday’s player’s meeting in Memphis, though he had some issues with the new 2024 schedule.

His biggest concern, however, was a much easier one for Monahan to handle.

“I know this is going to sound very stupid, but as simple as having a freaking porta-potty on every hole,” Rahm said Tuesday. “I know it sounds crazy, but I can’t choose when I have to go to the bathroom.”

When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.

Rahm enters this week ranked No. 3 in the OWGR and leading the FedExCup standings. He has four wins so far this season, most recently at the Masters in April. He finished in second at the British Open, though he was six shots back from Harman.

For more on Rahm’s stance on Monahan and porta-potties, click here.

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