Cameron Smith – perhaps a disappointing week but a great season

Patrick Cantlay has emerged the winner of the money-fest that is the FedEx Cup following his win in the Tour Championship today, earning US$15 million for his one-shot victory over Jon Rahm in the season-long FedEx Cup.

Interestingly, however, Rahm won the Tour Championship in terms of the lowest score, his four-round total of 266 finishing three clear of that produced by Cantlay but the handicapping system for the Tour Championship, introduced to benefit the player with the better position in the FedEx Cup table, worked in Cantlay’s favour.

Cantlay began the week four shots ahead of Rahm, effectively handicapping the Spaniard chances but Rahm followed up a fast start to the week and despite the start he was giving Cantlay leading into the week he nearly pulled of what would have been a remarkable victory.

The margin in the end was one but taking into account the handicap, Rahm was the winner of the event itself by three. Understanding me so far? No, I appreciate it if you don’t.

Rahm was four shots clear of the 3rd placed FedEx Cup player, Kevin Na who actually tied Rahm for the lowest score in the 72-hole event. My head is hurting!!

Cameron Smith began the week in 5th place in the FedEx Cup standings but would eventually finish 14th but don’t feel too sorry for him as he takes home a cheque for US$583,000.

It was admittedly a perhaps disappointing end to the week for Smith but it brings to an end another fine season for him, a period in which he has been twice runner-up at the delayed 2020 Masters and the recent Northern Trust Open.

Just to have made the Tour Championship conforms a great season for the 28 year old and he will now be keen no doubt to take some rest before recommencing his PGA Tour campaign.

Smith might well have been considering defending his Australian PGA Championship title in December but with that event now delayed until the New Year, whether he can attempt a three-peat is problematical.

“It’s been pretty good,” said Smith referring to his season. “Been really good of late, just a bit of a shame this week. I just didn’t hit my driver good enough. You need to hit the fairways around here to make a score. East Lake hasn’t really been my friend in the past. It still isn’t.

I’ve got five weeks off and my old man has come over from Australia, so lots of fishing and lots of sitting down and a few beers in there as well. I’m going to play three or four in the fall, a couple in Vegas for sure and thinking about Houston and RSM. Pretty mellow.”

Cantlay’s win in the event will come under scrutiny because of the handicapping system but there is little doubting the magnificent season he has produced.

Cantlay has recorded three genuine wins and this win under handicap conditions so there is little doubting his  deserved win of the FedEx Cup but there will forever be a question mark over winning the Tour Championship because of the format used.

“Yeah, it was fantastic,” said the champion. “You know, as good as it felt to feel like I slept on the lead for two straight weeks darned near, it feels good to not necessarily have the lead anymore and be done and closed out.

“It was a long year. I thought I could barely remember when it started. A lot of events, and I’m very tired after, it feels like, you know, just a ton of golf and a ton of pressure golf.

“But I’m very grateful and happy to be here, and I’m really proud of myself for staying in the moment and delivering when it counted.”

His win at last week’s BMW Championship was one of the most memorable of the season and he deserves respect for the manner in which he has played and conducted himself.