Rory McIlroy is fifth in the rankings of the FedEx Cup and starts the Tour Championship at five under par
Rory McIlroy says he is uncertain about the new format of the season-dependent Tour Championship and has questioned the $ 15 million prize. winner.
Only the top 30 on the FedEx Cup point list of the PGA Tour qualified to play in Atlanta, with the players' starting scores then spread by their position.
It means Justin Thomas, who won the BMW championship on Sunday, starts at 10 under par with a two-stroke advantage.
McIlroy from Northern Ireland, fifth in the rankings, starts at five under.
"You can shoot at the best score of the week and not win the golf tournament," McIlroy said.
"If that happens to someone, it will be difficult for them to wrap their heads around."
Patrick Cantlay is second in the rankings and starts Thursday at eight o'clock under par at East Lake Golf Club, with fellow American and world number one Brooks Koepka out of seven.
Starting scores then work on a sliding scale towards the players in the 26th to 30th, starting at level par.
"There is no person on the planet who has experienced this before, before what it is for, "said American leader Thomas. "I'm just going to try to handle it as well as possible."
The "Starting Strokes" format was introduced with the intention of removing the confusion of earlier FedEx play-offs, when the winner of the last tournament was often different from the series champion.
World number three McIlroy, 30, says he has talked to sponsors about how the "legacy" of the FedEx Cup relates to the four majors of golf.
Referring to the intention of the PGA Tour for the tournament to have a legacy as the final element of the & # 39; season of championships & # 39 ;, the series of tournaments participating in the Players Championship , four majors and then the FedEx Cup, McIlroy asked if players would start on different scores was "the best way to do it".
"I understand it from the perspective of a fan experience," he said. "I get it from boys who have played better all year round to give an advantage, but I don't know … come back to me on Monday and I'll tell you if it worked or not."
The Tour Championship winner takes home $ 15 million, rising from $ 10 million last year, but McIlroy says, "It doesn't have to be the money, it has to be the prestige of it win an event that you are reminded of ".
"Who knows what the winner will win at the Masters? I don't know because that's not the point," he said.
"The money is great, but I get more satisfaction by winning the golf tournament and playing well. I don't think the money should come first because I don't think that's what the fans care about.
"It is definitely a thought that occurred to me: & # 39; how can we make ourselves more relative to the fans? & # 39 ;, And having $ 15 million for and middle is probably not the best way to do it. "
Masters champion Tiger Woods and Open winner Shane Lowry did not both qualify for the top 30 during the course of the season.
" I want to emphasize that what Tiger and Shane did this year , those are two of the greatest stories of the year. Would you like them here? 1,000%, "said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.
" But you look at every other sport and their play-off format, and you have top teams that drop out early. You have a number of things that you might not have predicted, especially when they won those two big events.
"You have to play exceptionally well over the course of an entire season, and with volatility there is a risk."