Jordan Spieth misses Tour Championship, may face fine or suspension by PGA Tour
The three-time major champion got put in a bad spot by his own play at the end of the year
Jordan Spieth shot a 3-over 73 in the final round of the 2018 BMW Championship and finished No. 31 in the FedEx Cup points race. Only the top 30 in the FedEx Cup rankings move on to the Tour Championship at East Lake in two weeks. This is significant because it's the first time Spieth has missed the Tour Championship as a professional, but it's also significant because Spieth will end the season with only 24 tournaments played.
The BMW Championship was Spieth's 23rd event, and the Ryder Cup in three weeks will be his 24th. Why is it significant that he's falling one shy of 25 events played?
The PGA Tour has a rule called the "strength of field regulation," which requires golfers to either play 25 events in the current or previous season or add a new event in the current season (that they did not play in the prior season). Spieth will end this year with 24; he ended last year with 23 and added nothing new in the process.
Under the new policy, which was approved at the policy board's final meeting on Nov. 22, any player who participated in 25 or more official money events during the current or previous season is exempt from the requirement (of adding a new tournament). Players who don't meet the new requirement will be subject to a "major penalty," which under the Tour's regulations would be a fine in excess of $20,000 or possible suspension.
The impetus behind the rule is so that fields across the board on the PGA Tour will stay healthy and so that some of the weaker events would get to see their favorite stars and superstars at some point.
Spieth, it seems, will either be fined or suspended by the PGA Tour (those two punishments do not seem equitable) in the near future. He obviously made his schedule around the intended reality that he would both make it to the Tour Championship and be on the Ryder Cup team. When only one of those things happened, he left himself no outs.
It's not really something to get too worked up over, especially if the punishment is just a fine. Spieth has made nearly $3 million this season. A $20,000 fine probably isn't going to do much. The bigger story for me is that one of the presumed anchors for the U.S. Ryder Cup team just shot 73 on an easy course with something at stake in his final round before the festivities in Paris.
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