The PGA Tour's FedExCup finale tees of Thursday with just 30 players left in the postseason. Tim Finchem's postseason experiment, which is now in its seventh year, has taken hold and there's been plenty of drama in the TOUR Championship at East Lake in recent years. In some of those earlier incarnations, it was a foregone conclusion that Tiger Woods would take home the Cup regardless of what happened in Atlanta at the fourth and final playoffs event.
The playoffs have done a nice job of keeping the PGA Tour relevant past the fourth major and into September. NBC has been the traditional broadcast partner and they have the final three legs of the postseason again this year. NBC's Comcast sister network, Golf Channel, will provide the TV coverage through the first two rounds before the two split time on the weekend.
Thursday's first round broadcast will come on the air at 1 p.m. ET, two hours earlier than Golf Channel's typical opening round start time. The extremely small field also allows the Tour to send the players off in 15 twosomes, and hold the first tee time until late in the morning. The first group does not go off until 11:40 a.m. on Thursday, which means most of the entire field will play a majority of their round during the broadcast window. That's obviously not the case for a regular PGA Tour field, where half the players go out in the morning wave and are usually done by 1 p.m.
As the No. 1 player in the FedExCup standings, Tiger Woods will play in the final group on Thursday with Henrik Stenson, teeing off at 2 p.m. ET. Tiger's entire round, his every shot, will be covered -- a hot topic this week, given the debate over the fairness of call-in penalties for Woods, who's always under the TV microscope, as opposed to a less popular player who might go through his round in relative obscurity. Tiger's faced rules drama on four major occasions this season, the most recent coming last week at the BMW in Chicago.
Here are your media options for Thursday's round. In addition to the TV broadcast, Golf Channel will offer their usual simulcast stream online.
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 Sirius-XM