Spi­eth seeks to join Woods as 2-time FedExCup win­ner

USA TODAY International Edition - - SPORTS - Steve DiMeglio @steve_dimeglio USA TO­DAY Sports

LAKE FOR­EST, ILL. Jor­dan Spi­eth needed in­spi­ra­tion head­ing into the start of the FedExCup Play­offs.

Two close losses are just what he needed.

Now he’s in a per­fect spot to join Tiger Woods as the only play­ers to win the FedExCup twice.

“The goal was to try and im­prove each week through the Play­offs to ob­vi­ously peak next week,” Spi­eth said Wed­nes­day, re­fer­ring to the Play­off fi­nale in At­lanta at The Tour Cham­pi­onship.

Mis­sion ac­com­plished. Af­ter a long sum­mer and the grind of the ma­jor cham­pi­onship sea­son, which in­cluded Spi­eth’s wild and emo­tion­ally drain­ing vic­tory in the Bri­tish Open at Royal Birk­dale, his tank was a bit low head­ing into the North­ern Trust on Long Is­land in New York, the first event of the lu­cra­tive post­sea­son that re­wards the FedExCup win­ner $10 mil­lion.

A slug­gish first round did noth­ing to move his nee­dle. But then his putting clicked, and he even­tu­ally lost in a play­off to world No. 1 Dustin John­son. A week later, he fin­ished run­ner-up to Justin Thomas in the Dell Tech­nolo­gies Cham­pi­onship out­side of Bos­ton.

The two sec­ond-place fin­ishes moved him into first place in the FedExCup Play­offs stand­ings head­ing into Thurs­day’s start of the BMW Cham­pi­onship at Con­way Farms Golf Club, the third of four Play­off events.

“I’m look­ing to ob­vi­ously stay in the No. 1 spot — that’s my best chance to win the FedExCup start­ing in At­lanta,” said Spi­eth, a three-time win­ner this year. “I’ve been through this process be­fore, which is nice. We’ve got a rou­tine we like to go through, and we know how to kind of con­serve en­ergy. Th­ese last cou­ple weeks have helped, and the FedExCup is a tremen­dous ac­com­plish­ment and achieve­ment and some­thing I’m cer­tainly striv­ing for.”

Spi­eth, who won the FedExCup in 2015, is in form, is com­ing off a good week of rest and likes the golf course. Yet he knows this will be a dif­fi­cult week in the sense that part of his mind will be on next week. Spi­eth is all but guar­an­teed to be in the top five in the stand­ings head­ing into next week’s sea­son-end­ing tour­na­ment. The top five will con­trol their own des­tiny — if they win at East Lake, they au­to­mat­i­cally win the FedExCup.

“Th­ese Play­offs, if you’re in a very good po­si­tion go­ing in and you feel like you’re play­ing well, the first three events can kind of seem a lit­tle more dif­fi­cult be­cause you see the light at the end of the tun­nel. You know that East Lake is what re­ally mat­ters and the way th­ese points work, right?” Spi­eth said. “There’s just such a big­ger prize at the end, and that cer­tainly has our at­ten­tion, the guys in the top five, top 10 of the FedExCup.”

But Spi­eth said he’ll have no trou­ble get­ting mo­ti­vated this week. First of all, he likes to win. Se­condly, two play­ers are right on his heels in the stand­ings. Spi­eth has 5,071 points, just 27 ahead of Thomas and 421 ahead of John­son. And if he were to win the last two Play­off events, he could nudge Thomas for Play­ers of the Year hon­ors.

“I’m mo­ti­vated to stay where I am … be­cause No. 1 is a huge dif­fer­ence from No. 3 as you go into East Lake for the sce­nar­ios to win,” Spi­eth said. “I’m look­ing to play well.”


Jor­dan Spi­eth won the FedExCup in 2015 and will look to do it again next week.

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