Jordan Spieth must qualify for Tour Championship to avoid PGA sanctions

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- Jordan Spieth said making it to the Tour Championship is not "do or die" for him.

But it sure would be odd if Spieth were not part of the 30-man field in two weeks at East Lake in Atlanta.

And he faces a fine and a possible suspension if he doesn't because he would fall short of the number of events he is required to play on the PGA Tour.

Spieth, who won the FedEx Cup in 2015 and was second last year, has never failed to qualify for the Tour Championship since his first full year on the PGA Tour in 2013.

Through 54 holes of the BMW Championship, Spieth, 25, is projected to finish 31st in the standings, meaning he needs a solid final round at Aronimink Golf Club in order to move into the top 30.

One issue is: Will there be a final round? Weather has been a big issue this weekend, delaying the start on Saturday due to overnight rain and forcing an early start on Sunday to try to get the tournament completed. The forecast for Monday is also poor.

The PGA Tour will do all it can to complete 72 holes, and with an off week upcoming on the schedule, has some flexibility to wait. Just three tournaments in the past eight years have been shortened to 54 holes. But if the BMW Championship is shortened, the results through Saturday would stand, with Justin Rose the winner.

Spieth finds himself in this position despite shooting 66 on Saturday. He is tied for 39th in the tournament and was hurt by a second-round 71 when he was one of just six players to shoot over par. He came into the week 27th in the FedEx Cup standings.

The three-time major champion has not won on the PGA Tour in 2018, although he had close calls at the Masters and The Open. His worst finish in five previous seasons in the final FedEx Cup standings has been 15th.

"Each year I've had an opportunity to win the FedEx Cup at the end of the year," Spieth said. "It's certainly highlighted and a goal. This year in the current state I'm in a more difficult position to win the FedEx Cup than I've been in the last five, six years. At some point in your career, you'll be stuck in a position that's more difficult than other years."

The PGA Tour is in the second year of a policy that requires players to compete in a minimum of 25 events if they fail to add an event to their schedule that they have not played in the previous four years. Spieth did not add a tournament, so must meet the 25-event minimum. This is his 23rd event, with the upcoming Ryder Cup counting as his 24th. The Tour Championship would be his 25th.

If he fails to qualify and comes up short, it is unclear what would happen. No player has violated the policy, but the tour's regulations stipulate that he could receive a major fine (believed to be $20,000) or a suspension.