There are just four rounds of golf left in the 2013 PGA Tour season, and the first loop through the TOUR Championship starts Thursday at East Lake in Atlanta. Just 30 players will tee it up in the FedExCup finale, with the original 125-man field trimmed over the prior three postseason events. It's the smallest field of the season, and allows the Tour some leeway when it comes to scheduling out tee times and providing the best possible window for TV coverage.
For the first time this postseason, a tournament will start with players going out in twosomes all rolling off the first tee. It's obviously the only way to go, when only 30 players are in the field. The PGA will hold the first of the 15 tee times until 11:40 a.m. ET, with Luke Donald and Dustin Johnson starting the week. Players are paired together in order of their current FedExCup standing, Donald and Johnson ranking 29th and 30th in points. The final pairing of the day, No. 1 Tiger Woods and No. 2 Henrik Stenson, will not tee off until 2 p.m. ET.
The extremely small field also allows the Tour's TV partner to show almost any shot from the opening round live during the broadcast. Golf Channel will come on the air at 1 p.m. on Thursday, just over an hour into the start of the round. So there will be no missing out on a morning wave with half the field, as Golf Channel usually does during the first two rounds when coverage typically starts at 3 p.m. There will also be the usual simulcast stream of the TV coverage online, via Golf Channel and NBC's LiveExtra service. So you'll be able to watch almost the entire first round starting at 1 p.m. if you're stuck in the office on Thursday. Here are your media options for Round 1:
Thursday's first round coverage
1 p.m. - 6 p.m. -- Golf Channel
1 p.m. - 6 p.m. -- Golf Channel simulcast stream
Noon - 6 p.m. -- PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM