FedEx Cup leader Justin Thomas is not interested in the increased prize money for this year’s championship, insisting his focus is on becoming “the best player that ever walked the planet”.
In the new format, Thomas starts this week’s season-ending Tour Championship on 10 under par, giving him a two-stroke lead over second-placed Patrick Cantlay at the top of the standings.
As well as the alteration to the tournament set-up, the prize pot has also changed, with an increase from $10million to $15m for the winner.
Yet despite this considerable rise, Thomas, who is bidding to win the FedEx Cup for a second time in three years, is not motivated by the money on offer.
“This week is not going to change my life – that’s unbelievable, because it’s an extremely substantial amount of money,” he told a news conference.
“How FedEx has stepped up to take care of us players is crazy, it’s unbelievable. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have thought that was possible.
“But I’m not going to change the way I live my life if I win that. Money has never driven me, I hope it never will.
“I play to win trophies and win championships and be the best player that ever walked the planet. That’s all I play for. Money is a great consolation and a great thing to have.
The day we’ve been all waiting for all year is here! pic.twitter.com/C3lc50mDAr
— TOUR Championship (@playofffinale) August 21, 2019
“It’s bizarre; I’ve never had a putt on a last hole of a tournament where I’m like: ‘Man if I make this, I finish solo second, versus if I miss this, it’s a three-way tie for whatever’ – a $500,000 putt.
“Whereas I go and play a money game at home and this putt is for $200 on the last hole and I have to physically give my friend $200? That makes me nervous.
“I’m not saying I don’t have a rush out here. But that’s fun. This is fun, too, but that’s different.
“I don’t know, I’m sure there is a form [amount] of money that might get me to say that, but I truly don’t think that way or play that way.”
Giving further evidence to his claims, Thomas admitted that his previous FedEx Cup triumph in 2017 felt like a consolation prize after failing to win the Tour Championship in the previous format.
He is determined to make sure the same does not happen again this year, too.
“One hundred per cent, yeah, it would irk me,” he said. “There are world ranking points on the line. I want to beat everybody every week I play.
“Going into this week in 2017, there was only a couple of people who had won six times in a year and I wanted to be one of those people. I was p***ed, to be perfectly honest, that I didn’t win.
“I think a lot of people were shocked and a little upset at how I handled just winning the FedEx Cup and $10m, but I was like: ‘I just lost a golf tournament by one’. I should have won the tournament, I had a great chance.
“In the grand scheme of things, it was still a great year, my best to date, but my competitive nature is never going to be okay losing by one even if I get a consolation – a really, really good consolation at that.”