New York - FedEx Cup points leader Hideki Matsuyama is
anything but complacent heading into the PGA Tour playoffs with major
winners Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth on his heels.
"It has been a really good season, great season for
me," said Matsuyama, whose three tour wins this season include two World
Golf Championships titles.
He was again unable to break through for a first major
title. Winning the FedEx Cup - and the $10 million bonus that comes with it -
would be some consolation for that major disappointment, but Matsuyama said
he's going into the Northern Trust at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, New York,
focused on his game - not the standings.
"It really just begins now, because unless I play well
in the next four events, I'm not going to be the FedEx Cup Champion,"
The series will culminate with the Tour Championship in
September, with the top five in the standings able to claim the bonus with a
win in the season finale.
"Of course I want to be in the top five going into the
Tour Championship, that's my goal," Matsuyama said. "The best way to
do that is just to play well."
Matsuyama, Thomas and Spieth are separated by just 198
points atop the playoff points standings, with world number one Dustin Johnson
Thomas, who captured his first major title at the PGA
Championship two weeks ago, is also looking ahead rather than back.
"I tried to forget about it as quick as possible,"
the 24-year-old American said. "It was like, look, it's awesome. I'm
extremely happy I did it. I'm proud of myself and proud of me and my team.
"It's over with, and you know, I'll enjoy it in the
In addition to his major breakthrough, Thomas had wins at
the CIMB Classic, the Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open. Playoff
success would no doubt cement his status as Player of the Year.
"I'd much rather hear you say that four events later
than probably now," said Thomas, who knows his good buddy Spieth also has
a good chance at the prestigious award.
In addition to the British Open, Spieth won the Pebble Beach
Pro-Am and the Travelers Championship this season.
"The playoffs are very important, this year,"
Spieth said of the weight the post-season could carry in the Player of the Year
"It's a close race right now. I think it's between four
guys, in my opinion. So it's a fight and it's something that is keeping me
going out and grinding at the end of a really good season."
Johnson, whose early-season surge saw him win the Genesis
Open in Los Angeles and two World Golf Championships titles before injury
forced him out of the Masters in April, is seeking a big finish to a season
that started out so well.
"I'm looking for a really good finish to the
year," Johnson said. "Obviously at the end, I'd like to be the
While the playoffs offer some a chance to cap successful
seasons, for Rory McIlroy they're an opportunity to salvage a disappointing
The defending FedEx Cup champion almost opted out as he
continued to struggle with the effects of an early season rib injury.
But he decided he could manage the pain through four more
tournaments in hopes of a first win of 2017.
"I haven't not won a tournament since the 2008 season,
which was my real rookie season on the European Tour.
"Even in 2013 when I struggled, I went down to
Australia at the end of the year and I won - and it made the end of the year
feel pretty good. I'd like to have that feeling again."