“Thriller” final at The Honda Classic 2023. After four days played with great pace and quality, the American Chris Kirk managed to hit his fourth career victory on the PGA Tour, despite a last hole that risked calling everything into question.
Chris Kirk, results
At 18 of the PGA National Resort’s “The Champion” course Kirk had opened with a perfect tee shot for anyone who had to manage a one-shot lead over his immediate pursuer, Eric Cole. Then a questionable choice and a fair amount of bad luck caused his second shot to end up in the water after bouncing off the stones around the green.
Luckily for him Cole only hit a PAR against his bogey, forcing a playoff for the final victory. At the play-off hole, Kirk’s more prudent choice to play a second shot on the fairway prevailed over Cole’s more offensive one who, looking for the green, found a bunker that proved fatal in his hunt for his first career title on the top circuit .
Third place for Tyler Duncan with a score of -12 at the end of a tournament dedicated to continuity. Fourth Ryan Gerard with a -10 which allowed him to precede Ben Martin and last year’s winner Sepp Straka, fifth with a total score of -9.
Three of the big four Major tournaments take place over eight weeks, between June and August. In the past, this has threatened to make the remaining two and a half months of the season uninteresting, as some of the best players decide to compete less thereafter.
The solution was the introduction of a new type of leaderboard, the FedEx Cup. From January to mid-August, players compete in tournaments that form the “regular season” and earn points towards the FedEx Cup, as well as prize money.
. At the end of the regular season, the top 144 players in the FedEx Cup standings qualify for the “playoffs”, four tournaments that take place between mid-August and mid-September. The number of participants in these tournaments is progressively reduced from 144 to 120 to 70 and eventually to the 30 that traditionally participate in the Tour Championship.
Further points towards the FedEx Cup can be earned in these tournaments. At the end of the Tour Championship, whoever has accumulated the most points is the season champion. To implement this new system, the PGA Tour had to make significant changes to the traditional calendar.
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