There are two courses on the PGA Tour’s regular schedule that end with a par 3. However, there may soon only be one.
The Tour and Tour Championship host East Lake Golf Club are in discussions to flip the nines at the Atlanta course, ending the FedEx Cup finale on a par 5, currently the 600-yard ninth hole, instead of the current 235-yard par-3 finishing hole.
The reason is simple: ending the Tour Championship, FedEx Cup playoffs and PGA Tour season with a par 5 may offer more drama than the lengthy current 18th.
“The main thing is having a par 5 instead of a par-3 finish,” said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, according to the Associated Press. “The secondary benefit is we get No. 6 into the last four holes, which has a lot of action. The third thing is more scoring on the back side, a little more momentum on the back. It’s a flat finish with a par 3.”
The move is likely motivated by the lack of drama in the Tour Championship finish in the last few years. Jordan Spieth won this year’s edition by four shots, marking the ninth time in the last 12 years that the East Lake event has been settled by at least three shots.
However, the current finishing stretch comes down to more than one hole. The par-5 15th is a great hole, with the 17th being one of the stronger par 4s on the course. Conversely, switching the nines would make the treacherous par-3 sixth, playing 210 yards to a peninsula green, part of the back stretch.
Ultimately, a close tournament comes down to the players getting bunched up, and that’s less likely with a 30-player field. It’s also less likely at East Lake, a course where a four-round, under-par total will often land a player in the top five.