Tiger Woods. Pic: Getty Images
Aug 27: The equation is very straight forward for Tiger Woods. He needs to finish in Top-4 at the BMW Championship in Chicago to stay on and qualify for the Tour Championships next week. The Tour Championship is where Woods made his latest winning comeback when he won it in 2018 and then added the titles at Masters in 2019 and Zozo Championhip, also in 2019. Now he has 82 PGA Tour wins, tied with Sam Snead’s all-time record.
If Woods finishes outside Top-4 he will have to get back home and watch the season-ending action at East Lake Club on TV.
Three of the top five players in the world are in the field. They are led by Dustin Johnson, who won the Northern Trust by 11 shots and reached World No.1 ranking, as also top of the FedExCup standings, will start as a big favourite with defending champion Justin Thomas and former FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy, among other top challengers.
In his pre-event conference, Woods said, “I have to play well. I have to earn my way to East Lake. I haven’t done so yet, and need a big week this week in order to advance. If I don’t, then I go home. This is a big week for me. I’m looking forward to getting out there and playing and competing.
“This golf course is set up more like a U.S. Open than it is a regular TOUR event, but this is the Playoffs. It’s supposed to be hard.”
Woods is currently No. 57 in the FedExCup standings ahead of this week’s action at Olympia Fields Country Club. Only the top 30 will advance to the season finale in Atlanta. Woods’ last win at East Lake in 2018 endeed a five-year winless drought.
“If you look at the players from 1 to 30, they’re the most consistent players throughout the entire year,” Woods said. “Granted, some players have had more success towards the late part of the year, but most likely in order to get to East Lake you’ve got to be consistent, and in order to win the TOUR Championship and to win the FedExCup, it’s about getting hot at the right time and right at the very end just like everybody else will.”
Woods is a five-time winner of the BMW Championship, with two of those wins coming in the FedExCup era. But this week marks his first start at Olympia Fields since tying for 20th at the 2003 U.S. Open.
“I probably remember maybe a couple shots from that Open,” Woods recalled. “I went on YouTube and took a look at the golf course and the tournament setup, but it looks completely different. There are a lot more trees, the tees have been pushed back 50 yards, 60 yards on some of the holes. It was a very different type of layout. Guys were hitting a lot of irons off the tees and putting the ball in play. It’s going to be a little bit that way this week but we’re further back.”
Last year Woods needed solo 11th or better last year at Medinah, to make the Tour Championship and Woods finished tied 37th and failed to qualify for the Tour Championship.