Chinese Taipei’s Pan Ready for FedExCup Playoffs
As C.T. Pan puts it, there are 15 million reasons for him to play out of his skin as he chases a pot of gold in the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs.
The Chinese Taipei golf star tees up in The Northern Trust on Thursday, determined to qualify for the Playoffs finale, the TOUR Championship for the first time where the FedExCup champion will pocket a cool US$15 million.
Entering the PGA TOUR’s ‘Ultimate August’ in 35th place on the FedExCup points list, Pan, 27, is almost assured of progressing into next week’s BMW Championship which will feature the top-70 players before the best 30 move into the final week of the 2018-19 season.
For Pan, it has already been a memorable year as he claimed his maiden PGA TOUR win at the RBC Heritage in April. He is keen though to put the cherry on top of the cake in the next few weeks, especially when he is also bidding to become the first Chinese Taipei golfer to qualify for the Presidents Cup in December.
“I’m glad to be here for the Playoffs and have a shot at making the TOUR Championship and even the Presidents Cup. That’s all I can ask for,” said Pan, whose finished 35th on the final FedExCup standings last season.
“It’s probably the greatest reward in sports history. Another 15 million reasons to work harder but as we know, golf is a hard game. At the end of day, if someone beats you as they played better, or you were less lucky, that’s the way it’s going to be. We’re lucky to be out here for sure.”
The par-71 Liberty National, which features New York’s Manhattan skyline as its backdrop, fits Pan’s eye. “The course requires accuracy from off the tee which I’m pretty good at. It’s wild … crazy to be here. The course is great and you get to see the Statue of Liberty, which is pretty cool. I know the fans will come out like crazy and New York fans are pretty well known,” he said.
“I had a win which is always great and a dream come true. However, the whole season has been pretty up and down and I haven’t played well these past two months. That’s golf, I’m still trying to improve every day.”
He fully supports the TOUR’s decision to reduce the Playoffs from four tournaments to three this season. “Sometimes, less is more. It’s the perfect time to play well. Every tournament is just as important as the other one. We have one less event in the Playoffs but it’s not one less opportunity. I still believe if you can win one of these events, your whole life will be changed,” he said.
Pan is also fighting hard to keep himself in the top-8 of the International Team points standings for the Presidents Cup against the United States which takes place in Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Australia in December. He currently sits on the bubble with two weeks remaining in the qualifying race.
“It’ll be my greatest honour to be on the team but there’s a bunch of guys out there trying to make the team. We’re trying to play our best to convince Captain Ernie (Els).”
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