Former world number one Tiger Woods says he is hitting 60-yard shots but has no date in mind for a return to competitive golf.
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• Texan not fully at ease with his game but finishes with 67
• Fellow American Kyle Stanley leads after first-round 64
Jordan Spieth can afford to ignore the multitude of arithmetic when calculating who will be the FedEx Cup winner. The Texan’s equation is simple; win the Tour Championship on Sunday and he will also leave Atlanta with the $10m (£7.35m) bonus pot for the second time in his career. It is about as straightforward as this complex play-off series ever gets.
Spieth made a solid start with this dual target in mind. His opening round of 67, three under par, was produced against the backdrop of the Open champion not looking particularly at ease with any aspect of his game. This was classic Spieth; he can score well in all scenarios. He is three behind the 18-hole lead.
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• ‘You think about it but it’s possible to play for $10m and not get distracted by it’
• Any time you win ‘a season’ on a tour, it’s a big deal, says 37-year-old
Justin Rose’s motivation to secure the FedEx Cup goes beyond the $10m bounty that he, unlike others, is happy to admit he is thinking about. Rose’s 2017 thus far is dominated by a near miss, that at the Masters in April, with the former US Open champion determined to make success rather than falling short his season’s story line.
“Right now, everybody, including myself, would sum up my year as that I lost in a play-off at the Masters,” Rose said. “That would make most players’ year and that’s what they would be remembered for in 2017. But this would certainly rectify things on that front, for sure.
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A year ago Rory McIlroy won the FedEx Cup in fine style – nobody could reasonably have predicted what happened next but a return to form may be round the corner
It would be an act of exaggeration to suggest the absence of Rory McIlroy casts a dark shadow over the conclusion to the FedEx Cup. The American golfing public are perfectly content with a scenario whereby Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson or Justin Thomas are the most likely to leave East Lake on Sunday evening as $10m richer.
Nonetheless, just as any event is richer in appeal for McIlroy’s involvement, now is the right time to reflect on a 12-month spell which, even by the standards of this player’s uncanny propensity to write his own headlines, stands out.
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• Quicken Loans has seemingly dropped out and venue will change
• Woods’s agent: ‘We have leads and are talking to sponsors daily’
The PGA Tour has threatened to remove the tournament hosted by Tiger Woods from its schedule after the loss of a title sponsor. Quicken Loans has failed to extend its four-year association with the June event, of which Woods’s charity is a beneficiary, with the PGA Tour duly cutting ties with Congressional in Washington DC, where it was to be held in 2018.
The Tour released a 49-tournament schedule for the 2017-18 season on Tuesday. Included in it is “The National” from 25 June, with venue yet to be decided. Speaking at East Lake, where the FedEx Cup will conclude on Sunday, the PGA Tour’s commissioner, Jay Monahan, admitted necessary glances towards a plan B.
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