Spieth missed two cuts in a row for the first time in his career. Garcia, meanwhile, skipped the first two events because, well, he could, having started the postseason at No. 31 in the points standings.
“I was a little tired. It’s a long season, and I had the possibility of doing it because I was in a good situation,” Garcia said Wednesday during his pro-am round at the BMW Championship.
Garcia has dropped down to 54th, but he still has a chance to win the FedEx Cup. A win this week at Conway Farms would move him as high as No. 6 in the standings, which would give him a good shot to capture the big prize. According to PGA Tour projections, he likely needs a top-3 showing to guarantee himself a tee time at East Lake.
Rory McIlroy was the other high-profile player who skipped the Barclays, but he returned with a T-29 showing in Boston. McIlroy, who has won two PGA Tour events this season, is No. 17 in the standings.
The possibility of Garcia skipping two events and still winning the PGA Tour’s season-long prize would almost certainly bring about changes to the points structure.
“I’m not trying to prove anything or anything like that,” he said. “I’ve been out here for 16 years, and I’m not getting any younger. People don’t realize how much it takes out of you when you’re traveling as much as I do. If I just played the PGA Tour and I was living here in the U.S., it’s different. But when you’re going back and forth, it’s a lot of traveling and it takes a bit out of the body.
“The summers are always very hectic; we play a lot of tournaments and don’t get to really disconnect that much. It was just a feeling more than anything else.”
Garcia said he wasn’t approached by anyone at the Tour about skipping the events, nor should he have been, since he was playing by the rules and still qualified for the 70-man field here at the BMW.
“I just felt like that’s what I needed and obviously the Tour didn’t think it was wrong or anything,” he said. “If not, they would have said something. They understand that we go through a lot throughout the season. For me, the right time to be able to do it was then. I could have done it earlier in the year, but what that means is that my summer is really going to be packed with tournaments. It’s not easy.”
And it’s not as though the FedEx Cup is the end of the line for Garcia this year, either. He said he has five more tournaments scheduled. If he doesn’t advance to the Tour Championship, he will next tee it up at the CIMB Classic.
“I definitely feel fresher,” he said. “A little bit rusty, I guess. But it’s good. I’m excited about this week, and we’ll see what we’re able to do.”