Only nine days remain of this season, but a season can still be defined by the roll of a ball.
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Records will be broken, perceptions upended, legends made.
All of this in just the last 10 days of the PGA TOUR season.
“And one win counts as four wins now,” Max Homa said of the 2,000 points that go to the winner in the first two weeks of the FedExCup Playoffs. “I thought I had a pretty good year with two wins.”
There is nothing quite like the end game of a PGA TOUR season, which can completely alter the way players and fans perceive all that came before.
Friday marked t-minus 10 days and counting, and Homa shot a competitive course-record 62 to take a two-shot lead over Chris Kirk (66) at the halfway point of the BMW Championship, the latest illustration of how quickly things can and often do change.
The most drastic example of this is 43-year-old Lucas Glover, who was 112th in the FedExCup going into the Wyndham Championship, won that to get into the FedExCup Playoffs, then won the FedEx St. Jude Championship to rise all the way up to fourth.
He’s also vying for a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team, along with Homa and others.
Players know better than anyone how quickly fortunes can turn. Matt Fitzpatrick won the U.S. Open last year but said of this season, “It’s disappointing. I wanted it to be better.” It got so bad, he added, that his caddie, Billy Foster, quipped Fitzpatrick was driving it like him.
“That’s what it feels like,” Fitzpatrick said with a laugh. “Feels like I’ve been hitting driver like Billy. But yeah, I think there’s still – I think I’ve still got this week, next week potentially and a few more tournaments to come, so I can still turn it around.”
And guess what? He’s doing so. He shot a second-round 67 and along with Brian Harman (68) is just three back at 7 under. Fitzpatrick, who won the RBC Heritage this season, had fallen to 118th in Total Driving coming into this week, but has stabilized somewhat at Olympia Fields, hitting 16 of 28 fairways. He’s also second in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting.
At 40th in the FedExCup, he’ll need perhaps a top-five or top-six effort to make it to the 30-man TOUR Championship at East Lake, but a victory at the BMW would do the trick.
It would also most likely change the way he thinks about this season.
Justin Rose, who came into the week 32nd in the FedExCup, was 2-over par for his first nine holes but has gone 7 under since then, including a second-round 65. He fell off in recent years but has enjoyed a resurgence of sorts this season, winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
With two more 65s on the weekend, the Rose resurgence could become a full-on reprisal of 2018, when he won the entire FedExCup. He’s 43, which is nothing given the lengthy time horizons of golf. Heck, Glover (67, 3 under) is 43 and look what he’s been up to.
Rory McIlroy, who hit just three fairways in his opening-round 65, was stuck in neutral as he slogged through an even-par 70 in the second round. At 5 under overall, he’s five off the lead. He’s also last in the field in driving accuracy (9/28 fairways) through two rounds.
“Pretty mediocre,” he said. “One birdie, one bogey. Gave myself tons of chances. I felt like I hit good putts, just hit a lot of edges, and the ball just sort of slid by. Yeah, overall, hit it a little better off the tee. I had a couple of big wides, on 7 and on 15. I don’t feel like I played too different to how I played (Thursday). I just got a bit more out of my round yesterday.”
Still, no one knows better than McIlroy how fast everything can change in the Playoffs. He came from six shots back to upend Scottie Scheffler and capture his record third FedExCup last year, so he’s not exactly daunted by the prospect of making up five shots over the next 36 holes.
What if he starts splitting fairways? What if he starts making everything he looks at?
Scheffler (69), is also 5-under par and five back. He could win the BMW to go into the TOUR Championship seeded first in the Starting Strokes format, giving him a two-shot lead over the second seed and an even bigger cushion over everyone else. That’s how he started the TOUR Championship last year. He has unfinished business at East Lake.
We’re at t-minus nine days and counting for this PGA TOUR season. Everything could change.
Source : PGA Tour