Atlanta lead in my sights - McIlroy
World number three Rory McIlroy is aiming to be top of the FedEx Cup rankings at the season-ending Tour Championship next week.
The second of three events in the revamped FedEx Cup gets underway on Thursday as the top-70 players compete for the BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club in Illinois.
In the new FedEx Cup system, players will receive a stroke advantage based on their position in the rankings after this week's tournament, with the leader starting the Tour Championship at -10.
Second place then starts at -8, third at −7, fourth at −6 and fifth at −5. Players ranked 6 to 10 will start at −4, 11 to 15 at −3, 16 to 20 at −2, 21 to 25 at −1 and 26 to 30 will start from 0.
As things stand, Northern Irishman McIlroy would begin the season-ending event at East Lake on -7 but he is hoping to be three shots better off when he arrives in Atlanta.
"It's another opportunity this week to try and prime a little bit higher going into Atlanta," he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. "I want to be 10 under par standing on that first tee in Atlanta next week so I know that I want to get to No. 1 and I need to win.
"It's hard enough to win golf tournaments when you're all starting on a level playing field, but whenever it's staggered like that, it's a tough proposition if someone like Brooks Koepka or Patrick Reed is starting two or three shots ahead of you.
"72 holes is a lot of golf to play and things can happen, but I think it all evens out over the course of the week, and to spot guys of that calibre a few shots at the start of the week is pretty tough."
James Mason grew up in Northumberland so is entrenched in both the football and golf scenes. A low handicap golfer, he also follows Newcastle United and predicts big things under Rafa Benitez.