The battle for Player of the Year could come down to final round



Scott Scheffler or Jon Rahm?

The PGA Tour Player of the Year will likely come down to the last round of the Tour Championship on Sunday. The two players are the clear-cut favorites to win the postseason award.

“I think this week will be pretty important in determining who may win that,” Xander Schauffele said.

Here are the resumes:

-- Scheffler is ranked No. 1 in the world. He won twice this year at the Phoenix Open and The Players Championship. He led the FedEx Cup point standings, for the second straight year, coming into the Tour Championship. He was on track to beat Tiger Woods’ tour record for Greens In Regulation over a season of 75.15%. Scheffler entered the finale at 74.47%. He needed 62 GIRs over the four days to eclipse Woods. He had 39 over the first three rounds after hitting just nine on Saturday. He has won $21 million on the PGA Tour this season, with 16 top-10 finishes, and has a scoring average of 68.2.

-- Rahm is ranked No. 3 in the world. He won four times this year at the American Express, the Genesis Invitational, the Sentry Tournament of Champions and The Masters. He has had a PGA Tour victory for seven consecutive seasons. He was third in FedEx Cup point standings coming into the Tour Championship. He has won $16 million on the PGA Tour this season, with 10 top-10 finishes, and a scoring average of 68.7.

“It depends what you value,” Rory McIlroy said. “I think Scottie’s won twice this year, Jon’s won four times. Jon’s won the Masters, Scottie’s won The Players. If you go on total wins -- it’s hard because how can you not -- it’s going to be really difficult because Scottie’s had -- he could end up with the best ball-striking season of all time. He’s hit the ball as good, if not better, than Tiger hit it in 2000. Which is the benchmark for all of us. But I think Jon probably has a little more to show for his year. But I think it could come down to this week and who performs. But it’s a two-horse race between Jon and Scottie.”

Scheffler and Rahm had rough third rounds on Saturday. Scheffler shot 3 over 73. Rahm shot 1 over 71. Both are tied for fifth going into the final round Sunday. They will be paired one group apart during the final round.

Who’s side you on, Chuck?

NBA Hall of Famer and giant TNT personality Charles Barkley stopped by the media compound Saturday during his visit to the Tour Championship, getting in loud exchanges with all who passed by.

Among those was McIlroy, who lit up at the sight of Barkley, breaking into a ready smile despite a third-round 71.

After rightfully bragging on his 70-pound weight loss to the ultra-fit McIlroy, Barkley then surprised the Irishman with good wishes on the upcoming Ryder Cup.

McIlroy, figuring all the U.S. would be stacked against him in that one, pulled up and said, “You mean that? You really mean that?”

Responded Barkley, polishing his diplomatic skills: “Hey, I don’t pull for teams. I pull for players.”

Weather delay

Third-round play was suspended for 77 minutes to due lightning in the area of East Lake Golf Club. Play was suspended at 5:28 p.m. with 16 players still on the course. The final pairing of Viktor Hovland and Collin Morikawa were on the 12th tee. Play resumed at 6:45 p.m.

Weather report

Scattered thunderstorms will develop by Sunday afternoon, with the highest probability between 5-8 p.m., with brief downpours and wind gusts up to 35 mph. The temperatures will reach the mid-90s. The heat index will be less than 100 degrees between 12-6 p.m.

Bulldog watch

Sepp Straka leads the three University of Georgia golfers in the Tour Championship field. Headed into the final round, Straka is 8 under in the staggered scoring system after a third round of 5 under 65 Saturday. He is tied for 11th.

Brian Harman is 6 under and 18th.

Russell Henley is 5 under and tied for 19th.

Bonus pool

There is a total of $75 million to be divided among the 30 golfers at the Tour Championship in the finale of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Here is the payout breakdown:

1st — $18,000,000

2nd — $6,500,000

3rd — $5,000,000

4th — $4,000,000

5th — $3,000,000

6th — $2,500,000

7th — $2,000,000

8th — $1,500,00

9th — $1,250,000

10th — $1,000,000

11th — $950,000

12th — $900,000

13th — $850,000

14th — $800,000

15th — $760,000

16th — $720,000

17th — $700,000

18th — $680,000

19th — $660,000

20th — $640,000

21st — $620,000

22nd — $600,000

23rd — $580,000

24th — $565,000

25th — $550,000

26th — $540,000

27th — $530,000

28th — $520,000

29th — $510,000

30th — $500,000