Jordan Spieth would happily finish as runner-up for the third straight FedEx Cup play-off event in succession at the BMW Championship if it means he can stay top of the rankings.
Spieth, who came second at the Northern Trust and the Dell Technologies Championship, heads into this week’s event narrowly ahead of Justin Thomas in the standings.
For the world number two the priority is to remain there, even if it means missing out on victory.
“I’m in a great position, looking to obviously stay in the number-one spot, that’s my best chance to win the FedEx Cup starting in Atlanta, and I’ve been through this process before which is nice,” Spieth said at a news conference on Wednesday.
“We’ve got a routine we like to go through and know how to kind of conserve energy. These last couple weeks and FedExCup is a tremendous accomplishment and achievement and something I’m certainly striving for.
On starting this year’s play-offs with consecutive runner-up finishes, Spieth said: “On the PGA Tour I can’t call it a bad thing. If I finish runner-up this week, unless one of two other people won, I will have accomplished the goal of being number one going into East Lake.
“So, again, if I finish first and second the next two weeks it’s pretty obvious I’ll be happy to finish my third consecutive second this week.”
Much has been made about the friendship between Spieth and Thomas, but the world number two reminded everyone his competitive nature trumps any friendship on the golf course.
“We’re friends off the golf course,” Spieth said. “When we’re on the golf course we’re still friends but playing against each other. It’s not like we played on the same team when we were 14. We were always playing against each other. Our schools matched against each other in college, AJGA [American Junior Golf Association] events in high school and professionally.
“I promise you when we’re out there and he’s got a six-footer to win the tournament and I’m standing right there on the green, I’m not rooting for him to make it. I’m rooting for him to miss it so we can go to a play-off and I can beat him. That’s just how it works as a competitor.
“When you aren’t the one that pulls it off and one of the people that you’re very close to can, then it’s cool, really cool for us.”
Spieth will play alongside Thomas and Dustin Johnson during the first two rounds this week as he tries to maintain his grasp on the FedEx Cup standings.