Likely needing a T-4 finish or better to move inside the top 30 in FedEx Cup points, Mahan is in a tie for 15th heading into the final round at Conway Farms. He is the only player to advance to the Tour Championship every year since the FedEx Cup’s inception, in 2007.
“I’m going to have to be aggressive,” he said. “I’m going to have to make birdies and have a good round and play well and maybe force it down the stretch a little bit. I either make it or go home.”
Mahan entered this week at No. 52 in points. He tied for fourth in Boston just to make it to the third leg of the playoffs.
Rarely during this nine-year run has he been in a position where he needed to worry about his standing at the BMW. A year ago, he was fifth heading into the season finale, after a win at the Barclays, but after the birth of his second child he said he didn’t properly prepare for the upcoming season.
“I’ve played on Tour for 12 years now,” he said, “and you just get comfortable in the routine of things. It’s not like you lose motivation, but you lose focus on getting better and critiquing your game and where you need to get better. I just didn’t do that, and when you get in the middle of the year, it feels like it’s a snowball effect and you just can’t stop it.”
Mahan won’t have any trouble keeping track of where he stands Sunday, thanks to the giant electronic leaderboards that update with every birdie and bogey. He figures he’ll need to shoot at least 5 or 6 under in the final round to have a chance.
“I feel proud of what I’ve done,” he said, “whether I continue it or not.”