Cam Smith – file photo Getty / PGA Tour
Cameron Smith enters this week’s Tour Championship at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta as Australia’s only representative and in a position to become, potentially, the first Australian winner of the FedEx Cup.
Smith can win the season long series, the massive $US15 million bonus and a five year exemption to the PGA Tour by winning the Tour Championship but in order to do so he will need to overcome the five-shot deficit he gives Patrick Cantlay beginning the event.
The FedExCup points leader after the first two Playoffs events, Cantlay, will begin the TOUR Championship at 10-under par. The No. 2 player will start at 8 under.
The No. 3 player starts at 7 under; the No. 4 player starts at 6 under; the No. 5 player (Smith) starts at 5 under. Players 6-10 start at 4 under; players 11-15 start at 3 under; players 16-20 start at 2 under; players 21-25 start at 1 under; and players 26-30 start at even par.
So, the winner of the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup and its massive first prize bonus will be the player who comes out on top when the scores after 72 holes are combined with the handicap given at the start of the week.
The main reasoning in this format is to ensure the outcome of the FedEx Cup is not determined until the result of the Tour Championship is decided as there have been occasions in the past when the FedEx Cup was decided before the Tour Championship was complete.
A mid field finish at last week’s BMW Championship saw Smith slip from 3rd to 5th in the FedEx Cup standings but he still has a great opportunity to steal the show on Sunday.
The 28 year old Queenslander will be playing this event for the third occasion having finished 20th in 2018 and 24th in 2020.
Smith began the event well last year and finished well in 2018 so if he can find a away to combine his opening and finishing 36 holes then the chance of winning such a massive prize is not beyond him.
Smith was 10th at the Olympics, 5th at the WGC FedEx St Jude Classic and then runner-up after a playoff at the Northern Trust before finishing 34th last week so his form of late has been encouraging ahead of such a significant event.
Just by making this week’s event Smith is assured of a cheque for US$395,000 for finishing in 30th place in the 30 man field but the possibility of the first prize of US$15,000,000 must be very much a possibility for the young man from Brisbane.