The Break newsletter: Let the Tour Championship chaos begin!
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The Break newsletter: Let the Tour Championship chaos begin!

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Each day, I’ll be sharing some thoughts on topics in the game, links to Golf News Net content and what else I’m reading, as well other stats and information to frame the day in golf.

Today, I’m talking about my excitement for potential chaos in the Tour Championship.
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The Tour Championship is here

We finally have our top 30 for the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship starting Friday (ending Labor Day Monday) in Atlanta. Dustin Johnson heads the table, with BMW Championship winner Jon Rahm coming in to East Lake in second place. Justin Thomas is third, Webb Simpson is fourth, and Collin Morikawa is fifth.

If you’ll recall, this is Year 2 of the current FedEx Cup format, where position in the standings is converted to handicap strokes where all 30 players will start. DJ is at -10 before he hits a tee shot, all the way down to E for players ranked 26th through 30th.

Last year, the system worked. The top-ranked players mostly played well, and it turned into an interesting race for the FedEx Cup and the $15 million first-place prize. But I kind of want it to not work this year. I want chaos. I want to know what this system is like when players at the top tank (not specifically these players) and the lower-ranked players get a chance. It should be even more fascinating, and that’s saying something because the final 30 minutes of the BMW Championship was beautiful golf.

But if Billy Horschel, No. 30, has a chance to win $15 million on Monday afternoon?

Seriously, that ending though

The ending to the BMW Championship was terrific. DJ makes a 43-footer that breaks both ways down a hill to force a playoff with Jon Rahm.

In the playoff, Rahm makes a 66-footer for birdie that locks up his second win of the restart.

How can you not love that? That’s the kind of all-world golf we want to watch.

I’ll also give credit to the PGA Tour for going completely the other way with their setup at Olympia Fields compared to The Northern Trust at a water-logged TPC Boston. I think this was their plan all along, to grow up the rough and tighten the landing areas on a major-caliber course. However, it proved a timely contrast and was Exhibit A in making the argument that the Tour can challenge the players when they want. The players took it on the chin and didn’t complain. They can do it.

The best part is that the ending saw the top two players in the Official World Golf Ranking battling it out, with the now erstwhile No. 1 being a part of the equation a week after destroying the completely opposite setup.

What I’m reading, watching and listening to

It’s US Open Season: We’re three weeks from the US Open, and the USGA is beginning their annual countdown with a flyover per day of the 18 holes at Winged Foot’s West Course. Their YouTube channel is sneaky good with all kinds of golf videos, but these are a fun watch to learn about the host course many golf fans won’t remember well from 2006.


About the author


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]

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