JORDAN Spieth hasn't played the Wyndham Championship since he lost in a playoff to Patrick Reed in 2013, a finish that allowed him to start the FedEx Cup playoffs in the top 10. He returns to Greensboro, North Carolina, facing a little more urgency.
"I would like to make East Lake. That's my goal now," Spieth said.
Spieth is at No. 67 in the FedEx Cup. Under the new schedule, he will have two playoff events to get in the top 30 and qualify for the Tour Championship at East Lake. It made sense to play one more tournament to boost his position. That could mean playing six straight weeks if he makes it to East Lake, but having missed the Tour Championship last year, he felt it was worth it.
"I really want to get back there," he said. "I didn't like missing that last year, and (I'm) coming in further behind this year than I was last year."
Still unsettled in the shorter postseason is how high in the standings he'll have to be to get beyond the first playoff event. The top 125 are eligible for The Northern Trust next week at Liberty National, and the top 70 advance to the BMW Championship at Medinah.
The extra playoff event last year meant the top 100 advanced to the second stage, and then the top 70 to the BMW Championship.
Other players have more pressing matters than East Lake, such as keeping their full PGA Tour cards.
Alex Noren is at No. 125 in the FedEx Cup by two points over Austin Cook and Richy Werenski. Every player from No. 103 through No. 138 in the FedEx Cup is in the field at the Wyndham Championship. Dominic Bozzelli is in the most precarious spot. He is at No. 139 and was first alternate on Tuesday.
Also in the field is two-time major champion Martin Kaymer, who is No. 146. His five-year exemption from winning the 2014 U.S. Open ends this year.