The Tour Championship will have a different finish when the FedEx Cup playoffs conclude this fall at East Lake.
After much discussion, Tour and club officials have decided to reverse the nines for the Tour Championship, meaning the season-ending event will now end on a reachable par-5 rather than a long, difficult par-3.
In theory, the switch could create more fireworks on the closing holes, particularly with the finishing hole offering a potential eagle opportunity. Under the old setup, the 18th hole was a 230-yard uphill par-3 that rarely produced birdies.
Perhaps the most memorable finish at the Tour Championship came when Bill Haas saved par from the water on the 17th hole during a playoff victory against Hunter Mahan in 2011.
Course architect Rees Jones is overseeing modifications at East Lake that will include tweaks to what will be Nos. 16 and 17, as well changes to the new 18th hole including adding bunkers to the second-shot landing area and around the green.
“I have been working with the PGA Tour and East Lake Golf Club in reversing the nines to create more interest and volatility over the finishing stretch,” Jones said. “Players will be challenged by the difficult 14th hole and a demanding tee shot at No. 15. And the final three holes should not be viewed as an easier finish.
“With some tweaks that we are making, it is a stretch where par is not necessarily the standard and expected score. There will be birdies, bogeys on all three holes and potentially eagles on the final hole, which will ultimately result in more lead changes and excitement for all involved.”