Can You Remember Who Leads the FedEx Cup Standings?
IT HAS been a long time since we last saw any live action on the PGA Tour so, as we prepare to get going again, it may be the perfect time to remind ourselves of what happened before we went into lockdown.
It will surprise nobody that Justin Thomas is second in the FedEx Cup standings, with Rory McIlroy hot on his heels in third place. But can you remember who leads the way? Jon Rahm? No. Brooks Koepka? Definitely not. Jason Day? Try again. Hideki Matsuyama? Getting warmer.
The man at the top of the pile is Sungjae Im, of South Korea, after one victory and five top-10 finishes in his 14 starts. In fourth place is Brendon Todd, who enjoyed a purple patch during which he won won twice, also from 14 starts. Thomas is the only other two-winner to date.
It is worth noting that McIlroy has only started six events and has finished in the top 10 in every single one of them, including a victory. And he could have won every one of those starts.
We saw some surprise winners, to put it mildly. Whoever could have predicted that Lanto Griffin, Sebastian Munoz, Tyrrell Hatton, Nick Taylor, Joaquin Niemann, Andrew Landry, Tyler Duncan and Viktor Hovland would have won tournaments? It signals a changing of the guard and highlights just how difficult it is to predict winners on the PGA Tour.
It was also heartwarming to see Adam Scott win again. The popular Australian has struggled horribly on the greens in recent years but has finally found a way to get the job done. Bizarrely, the rule change that allows us to leave the flag in coincided with Scott rediscovering his putting touch., Even he probably couldn’t explain why that would be but it has definitely given him some kind of advantage. He is one of three Australian winners, the others being the admirable Marc Leishman and the hugely underrated Cameron Smith.
Hatton’s victory at Bay Hill was a welcome surprise. The Englishman would be the first to admit that he struggles to keep his emotions in check but he played magnificently to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational and would have been bitterly disappointed when the plug was pulled on the season. When you win on the PGA Tour you just want to keep playing and ride the wave for as long as you can.
There are some household names who will be desperate to get their seasons going. Koepka currently languishes is 213th place with not a single top-10 finish since he returned from injury. And he is not the only one who needs to start turning things around quickly. Phil Mickelson, with the Champions Tour beckoning, is 89th, Paul Casey is 92nd, Louis Oosthuizen is 98th, Jordan Spieth is 110th, Ian Poulter is 128th and South African Branden Grace is 166th.
And four European major winners had dreadful starts to the 2019-20 campaign. Open Champion Shane Lowry is 140th in the standings, Francesco Molinari is 168th, Sergio Garcia is 179th and, almost unbelievably, Justin Rose is 205th. Molinari has been struggling with his game for months and has also been injured. For the Italian, the break probably couldn’t have come at a better time.
Dustin Johnson finds himself in 111th place but he won’t be too bothered. He has only made four starts and finished in the top 10 twice.
It is a certainty that the final standings will be very different but it is equally certain that we will see some more surprise winners. Keep an eye on Scottie Scheffler, who is one of the most exciting prospects to emerge in years, the consistent Collin Morikawa and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, who will surely win before long and become a national hero in the process.
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