Tiger Woods saves par from the sand on No. 5 on the way to Tour Championship victory. (HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM)

Woods gets in his win just ahead of new FedEx Cup points system

Thank heavens they’re waiting until next year to implement a new FedEx Cup format.

In the final year that the Tour Championship has any resemblance to a stand-alone, stroke-play tournament, Tiger Woods claimed his big, lead-SportsCenter-even-on-a-NFL-Sunday victory. Just in time.

Under the same conditions in 2019, he would have finished runner-up to Justin Rose. 

Under the new system beginning next year, the FedEx Cup leader begins the Tour Championship at 10 under. The No. 2 guy is 8 under, third 7 under, fourth 6 under, fifth 5 under. Each group of five after that would be a stroke less. And whoever’s lowest at the end of Sunday wins the FedEx Cup (there is no Tour Championship trophy).

Woods, 20th in points coming in would have started at 2 under, already six back of Rose, who was second in points.   

Here’s the top players in this year’s Tour Championship: Tiger Woods (11 under), Billy Horschel (9 under), Dustin Johnson 7 under), Rose, Hideki Matsuyama and Webb Simpson (6 under). 

And here’s how they would have placed if the new system went in a year early: Rose (14 under), Woods, Horschel,  Johnson (13 under),   Bryson DeChambeau (11 under), Tony Finau and Justin Thomas (10 under).    

From First Tee to Over-50 Tour in a blink: It was just 10 years ago that Mylz Oliver was the little kid bugging his dad to let him tag along on the old man’s regular golf outing with his buddies.

By the time Mylz was 11, he was bombing it past dad off the tee. “We used to practice in the yard until he hit the neighbor’s car. And I said, OK, we got to move this driving range,” laughed Gary Oliver.

Now, a 17-year-old senior at Westlake High School, Mylz has a tee time set up next week at beautiful and historic Pebble Beach out west. And dad is the one tagging along. 

They grow up so fast.

Young Oliver springs from one of the charitable beneficiaries of the Tour Championship, The First Tee of Atlanta program, designed to spawn interest in the game and its values among youngsters. Seemed to work in this case, for Oliver has gotten his handicap down to three and his personal skills honed and as a result is about to embark on one of the great golfing adventures of a young lifetime.

He’s one of 81 First Tee members chosen to play alongside a PGA Tour Champions (over-50) player in next week’s 54-hole PURE Insurance Championship. He and his as-yet unchosen pro partner will play Pebble Beach and nearby Poppy Hills. He’ll be back at Pebble for the final round if he survives a cut among the First Tee players.  

“I was ecstatic when I found out,” Myles said, remembering when he got word that his application to play the event – which included facts about his game, a recommendation letter and a personal essay – was accepted. “My dad works the graveyard shift but I woke him up to tell him the news because I couldn’t hold that in.” 

Mylz has never flown, never really ventured outside the southeast and now will be competing among the likes of Tom Watson, Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples on a course that approximates heaven on earth.

On his bio he lists among his goals to become an anesthesiologist or a physical therapist. But he also is working on another idea that sounds pretty good.

“I want to take it out there, with those guys,” he said, nodding toward the Tour Championship practice range, where the world’s best were loosening up for another round.

Give those TV announcers a raise: We know you can’t get enough TV ratings news. As he soared to the Tour Championship lead Saturday, Woods took NBC with him.

Third-round ratings were up 142 percent from last year, making it the highest-rated third-round of any FedEx Cup playoff (which began in 2007).

Big movers and losers in FedEx Cup: The rich just did another victory lap in an Olympic-sized pool of cash Sunday. None more than Woods, already the all-time career money winner (nearly $114 million in tournament winnings). This week he went from 20th in FedEx Cup points (which pays a $225,000 bonus) to No. 2 ($3 million).

With his birdie on No. 18, Justin Rose went from No. 2 at the beginning of the week to FedEx Cup Champion and a gain of $7 million in bonus money.

Bryson DeChambeau’s fall from No. 1 to No. 3 this week cost him $8 million (the difference between $10 million and $2 million).

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