The First Look: Fortinet Championship
6 Min Read
Written by Adam Stanley @adam_stanley
The inaugural FedExCup Fall kicks off with this week’s Fortinet Championship at the Silverado Resort in Napa, California, where Max Homa is looking for a rare three-peat.
Events in the FedExCup Fall – from the Fortinet Championship to The RSM Classic – feature the same benefits as Regular Season tournaments, include two-year exemptions, 500 FedExCup points, and spots in THE PLAYERS, The Sentry and the major championships that invite TOUR winners. But there’s the added drama of players competing for their PGA TOUR cards.
The FedExCup Fall will finalize the top 125 who retain their status for 2024.
Players beyond No. 71 in the FedExCup after the TOUR Championship will continue to compete in the FedExCup Fall to remain in the top 125 through The RSM Classic on Nov. 16-19. Nos. 51-70 in the FedExCup after East Lake already have clinched their cards for next season but are competing for spots in the first two Signature Events after The Sentry; Nos. 51-60 in the FedExCup standings after The RSM get into those events.
Players who finished in the top 50 in the FedExCup will still compete in the FedExCup Fall, as well, just as Homa is doing this week.
For more information on how the FedExCup Fall works, click here.
FIELD NOTES: Six golfers, including Max Homa, who finished inside the top 50 in the FedExCup standings are teeing it up in Napa. Cam Davis, Sahith Theegala, Andrew Putnam, Brendon Todd and Eric Cole are the others… Justin Thomas, who missed the FedExCup Playoffs by a matter of inches, is back in action. Thomas is 71st in the FedExCup standings after a T12 at the final event of the Regular Season, the Wyndham Championship. This will be his first start since as he prepares for the Ryder Cup, for which he was a captain’s pick. He last teed it up at Silverado in 2019, when he finished fourth. In fact, Thomas’ last three results at this event are 4-8-3… Thomas and Homa are not the only parts of the American Ryder Cup squad teeing it up in Napa. Captain Zach Johnson is in the field along with Vice Captain Stewart Cink, who won the event in 2020… Mackenzie Hughes, who is 51st in the FedExCup standings is in action. Hughes just missed making the top 50, which would have qualified for him all eight Signature Events in 2024. Hughes can earn spots in the two Signature Events after The Sentry by being in the top 60 of the FedExCup after The RSM Classic… Akshay Bhatia, who captured the Barracuda Championship for his first TOUR title and in the process converted a Special Temporary Membership into a full PGA TOUR membership, will look to keep his solid momentum going in the FedExCup Fall. He had four top-10s in his 19 events this season… Other notables in the field include TOUR winners and fan favorites Kevin Kisner, Webb Simpson, and Joel Dahmen… Matt Kuchar, who has never missed the FedExCup Playoffs, returns to Napa where he finished 12th a year ago. The 45-year-old is the only golfer in the FedExCup era to tee it up in the postseason in all of the 17 years.
|Highest Ranked Players in the Field|
|7. Max Homa||T9. Max Homa|
|24. Justin Thomas||31. Sahith Theegala|
|37. Sahith Theegala||35. Andrew Putnam|
|49. Cam Davis||43. Eric Cole|
|58. Andrew Putnam||47. Brendon Todd|
|59. Lucas Herbert||48. Cam Davis|
|60. Brendon Todd||51. Mackenzie Hughes|
|64. Matt Kuchar||52. Nick Hardy|
|65. K.H. Lee||53. Taylor Montgomery|
|66. Taylor Montgomery||56. Stephan Jaegar|
SPONSOR EXEMPTIONS: Hayden Springer earned an exemption after winning the season-ending Fortinet Cup Championship on PGA TOUR Canada and the season-long Fortinet Cup title… Fred Biondi, the 2023 NCAA individual champion, is playing his first PGA TOUR event as a pro. Biondi also played the U.S. Open in 2022. He teed it up nine times on the Korn Ferry Tour this summer with his best result being a T31 at the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by TD SYNNEX… Another former Gator, Yuxin Lin, is in the field. Lin, the 2017 and 2019 Asia-Pacific Amateur winner, won the Southern Highlands Invitational as a senior for the Gators. He has played both the Masters and the Open Championship twice. He made the cut in one of those four majors, finishing T74 in the 2021 Open Championship…Preston Summerhays, fresh off his appearance on the victorious U.S. Walker Cup team, received an invitation. He was a first-team All-American at Arizona State in 2023.
1. HOMA’S HOPING FOR A THIRD
Max Homa, an alum of nearby Cal-Berkeley, has tasted victory the last two years in Wine Country. Two years ago, he topped Maverick McNealy by one after McNealy made double bogey on the 71st hole of the championship. Last year, it was Danny Willett who three-putted the final hole of the championship from just 3 feet to lose by one. Homa chipped in for birdie on the final hole for an unlikely two-shot swing. And now he’s looking to become the first golfer since Steve Stricker at the John Deere Classic in 2009-11 to win the same TOUR event three years in a row.
2. RYDER CUP PREVIEW
The Fortinet Championship will be the final PGA TOUR event before the Ryder Cup in Italy. Homa won last year’s Fortinet the week before heading across the country for a successful Presidents Cup debut at Quail Hollow, where he went 4-0-0. This time, he’s heading across the Atlantic for his Ryder Cup debut. Thomas will get an opportunity to showcase the work he’s put in over the past month.
3. NEW-LOOK PGA TOUR REWARDS
Success in the FedExCup Fall can set up players for success in 2024. Finishers in the top 125 of the FedExCup standings after The RSM not only retain their cards, but also earn a spot in THE PLAYERS. Winners in the FedExCup Fall get into The Sentry, the Signature Event that opens the 2024 schedule. Nos. 51-60 in the FedExCup standings after The RSM get into the two Signature Events following The Sentry.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 FedExCup points.
COURSE: Silverado Resort (North Course), par 72, 7,123 yards. Plenty of changes to Silverado’s North Course await the PGA TOUR’s best. The course routing has changed, with 10 holes now in a different order. Nos. 1-7 and No. 18 will stay the same while the rest have been re-routed, including No. 17, which is usually the 11th hole. It’s the course’s signature hole, playing over water. Silverado has hosted the PGA TOUR since 2014.
72-HOLE RECORD: 262, Cameron Beckman (2008 at Grayhawk GC), Kevin Sutherland (2008 at Grayhawk GC), Troy Matteson (2009 at Grayhawk GC), Rickie Fowler (2009 at Grayhawk GC), Jamie Lovemark (2009 at Grayhawk GC). Silverado record: 267, Stewart Cink (2020)
18-HOLE RECORD: 61, Mark Hensby (2nd round, 2007 at Grayhawk GC), Kevin Stadler (2nd round, 2008 at Grayhawk GC), Troy Matteson (2rd & 3rd rounds, 2009 at Grayhawk GC), Mike Weir (4th round, 2009 at Grayhawk GC), Chesson Hadley (2nd round, 2017 at Silverado).
LAST TIME: It was a wild final-hole finish for Max Homa and Danny Willett, and in the end it was Homa – after a chip in from 33 feet – who emerged victorious. Trailing Willett by a shot on the par-5 18th, Homa went for the green but ended up in a greenside bunker. He blasted it out but still had a chip remaining. No matter. He chipped in for the birdie. Willett missed his own birdie try from just over 3 feet and then, shockingly, his 4-foot comebacker for par lipped out and he lost by one. It was Homa’s fifth PGA TOUR title. “That was crazy,” Homa said. Taylor Montgomery, after a final-round 64 – tied for the low round of the week -- finished third, while 54-hole leader Justin Lower finished tied for fourth with Byeong Hun An.
HOW TO FOLLOW:
Television: Thursday-Sunday: 6 p.m.-9 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
PGA TOUR LIVE:
|Stream 1||Featured Groups: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.||Featured Groups: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.|
|Stream 2||Featured Group: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.||Featured Group: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.|
PGA TOUR LIVE is available exclusively on ESPN+
- Main Feed: primary tournament-coverage featuring the best action from across the course
- Marquee Group: new “marquee group” showcasing every shot from each player in the group
- Featured Groups: traditional PGA TOUR LIVE coverage of two concurrent featured groups
- Featured Holes: a combination of par-3s and iconic or pivotal holes
Radio: Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.–9 p.m. ET. Saturday-Sunday, 4 p.m.-9 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio)