Sometimes it’s best to not overthink the headline.

No, really, we swear it’s the #UltimatePrize!

If you’ve watched a few PGA Tour broadcasts over the past 15 years, you’ve seen plenty of FedEx Cup promos. The Tour desperately wants us to get excited about its “Ultimate Prize.”

But excitement is not what Ponte Vedra heard from Rory McIlroy and Cameron Smith before this week’s BMW Championship. “I’m just sort of getting through [the week], to be honest,” McIlroy said on Wednesday. “I’m going day by day and just trying to get through it as best I can and try to make it to [the Tour Championship].” When asked what he’d do if he won the $15-million check at East Lake, Cameron Smith replied “I don’t know. I’m pretty set, to be honest. I’m good. I’m good with what I’ve got. I don’t know what I’d do, to be honest. Maybe some more fishing equipment.”

Now, we’re not saying these sentiments are universal among players. Clearly, some are excited to be at the BMW Championship and would see a Tour Championship victory as a career-changing moment. The problem is that the $15 million is unlikely to go to one of those players. The system is designed to pay off established stars (and keep them from taking their talents… elsewhere). When the underdogs don’t have a chance and the big names are just going through the motions, something is broken.

Fourteen years into its existence, the FedEx Cup has reliably achieved its purpose of disbursing cash to the likes of Rory and DJ. As a competition that generates true enthusiasm, however, it continues to fall short.

Can’t stop, won’t stop

The PGA Tour kicked off yesterday’s action at the BMW Championship with an asinine decision to institute preferred lies at Caves Valley. The rationale? The Tour didn’t want players to deal with “extreme mud adhering to the ball that will affect its flight in unpredictable ways.” Oy. Anyway, scores were predictably low, with more than two dozen players shooting 68 or better. Sam Burns, Rory McIlroy, and the unstoppable Jon Rahm are tied for the lead after opening with 64s. Leaderboard

Jon Rahm is on a historic tear. Over his past 20 rounds, he has maintained a scoring average of 67.2, made birdies on 30.2% of his holes, and shot 77 under par (h/t Justin Ray). There’s no doubt: he is the best player in the world. Last week, Rahm showed he was human by kicking away the Northern Trust, but he seems to have moved on just fine. Like a goldfish.

Quick Hooks

In the first day of action at the Curtis Cup in Wales, Great Britain & Ireland jumped out to a 4.5-to-1.5 lead over the United States. Scoring

David Lipsky and Stephan Jaeger are tied for the early lead at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship. This is the second of three events in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals and will help determine who has a shot at a PGA Tour card next week. Leaderboard

James Morrison (not that one) leads the Omega European Masters in Switzerland. In case you forgot, the host venue is in one of the most beautiful settings in golf. Leaderboard

The Ally Challenge gets underway on the PGA Tour Champions on Friday. Tee Times

Seven-time USGA champion Ellen Port shot a bogey-free 67 in the final round of the Metropolitan Senior Amateur to qualify for a playoff, which she won. She was the only woman in the field!

Phil Mickelson decided to “ball” on Thursday at the BMW Championship. No. 70 in the FedEx Cup standings, Phil needs a very high finish to move on.

Ian Woosnam is a treasure. It’s called “ketchup,” though, Woosie.

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The Fried Egg Podcast: Andrew Green on Restoring (and Renovating) Inverness Club

Andrew Green is one of the busiest golf architects in the industry. He recently completed a restoration of Oak Hill’s East Course and a renovation of Congressional’s Blue Course, and he’s currently doing work at Scioto, Wannamoisett, and Interlachen. Andrew’s best-known project to date may be his bold 2017 restoration of Inverness Club, a 1919 Donald Ross design that has hosted six major championships. Next week, Inverness will appear on your TV as the host of the Solheim Cup, so Garrett Morrison figured it was a good time to call Andrew up and chat about Inverness’s strengths, its complicated architectural history, Andrew’s approach to balancing restoration with renovation, and his affection for a well-executed chocolate drop. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Fried Egg Events

Our 2021 Fried Egg Events schedule comes to a close over the next two months. Limited spots are still available in our events at White Bear Yacht Club (9/13) and Prairie Dunes Country Club (10/4). Reserve yours today!