(Reuters) – Top seed Dustin Johnson heads five players who control their own destiny as they chase the FedExCup and a $10 million bonus at the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta starting on Thursday.
Johnson, fellow American Patrick Reed, Australians Adam Scott and Jason Day and Englishman Paul Casey will clinch the season-long FedExCup points race if they also win the Tour Championship at East Lake on Sunday.
The tournament winner has also claimed the FedExCup in each of the past six years, and all 30 players in this week’s field have a mathematical chance of walking off with the $10 million jackpot, though only the top five seeds are not reliant on the results of others.
World number two Johnson, the hottest player in the game, is favourite after a sizzling campaign that has included a U.S. Open victory and two other wins.
“It would definitely cap off a great season,” Johnson told reporters on Wednesday. “I haven’t won the Tour Championship or the FedExCup. It would be two great championships to add to the resume.”
Johnson has taken his game to another level this year, thanks to a more controlled long game and an improvement in his precision with the wedge, a club he uses a lot due to his prodigious length off the tee.
World number one Day, meanwhile, has struggled at times this season, particularly with his tee shots after cracking his trusty old driver in June.
Though the Australian has piled up career earnings of more than $35 million, not to mention a great deal of off-course income, $10 million is enough to get his attention.
“Put that dollar amount (up for grabs) you get a lot of attention,” Day said, before turning a touch philosophical.
“How much is enough? We all have money but I don’t have my name on the FedEx trophy.”
Reed also said he was well aware of the big payday, but it was not foremost in his thoughts.
“The last thing probably on my mind is that there’s $10 million at stake because really I’m playing golf tournaments to win hardware. There’s two really good trophies I could win this week.”
Casey, meanwhile, charged into fifth place in the FedExCup standings thanks to consecutive runner-up finishes in the last two events.
“I’ve had a great couple of weeks but when you look at who’s not here, we’ve got an Open champion (British Open winner Henrik Stenson) and an (Olympic) gold medallist (Justin Rose) not here so I feel kind of cheeky I’m in the top five,” he said.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)