MEMPHIS — A disappointing stretch of results late in the season has Mackenzie Hughes in danger of missing next week’s BMW Championship, and he didn’t help his cause much at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, forcing him to sweat out the scores from players who finished after him on Sunday at TPC Southwind.
He also had some words from his wife Jenna ringing in his ears.
Hughes was kicking himself after drifting outside the bubble following a desultory third-round 75 at TPC Southwind. He managed to grind out a one-under 69 in the final round, playing his final 10 holes in three under par, but he feared his efforts might not suffice. When he saved par on 18 from a greenside bunker, Hughes, who began the week 47th in the FedEx Cup standings, stood 49th.
The top 50 advance to the second playoff event at Olympia Fields near Chicago, and, perhaps more importantly, garner further benefits via exemptions into eight signature events during the 2024 PGA Tour season.
After winning the Sanderson Farms Championship in the fall, the 32-year-old Canadian posted only one other top-10 finish, that coming at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play where he was T-5. He failed to play the weekend in eight of his last 11 starts, once because of withdrawal.
“Like my wife said, I’m a big procrastinator, and it seems like I leave it to the last minute all the time no matter what I’m doing, whether it’s dishes or golf,” he said, forcing a smile. “Here we are, waiting it out.”
Hughes completed 72 holes in the opening FedEx Cup playoff event in one-under 279, tied for 59th place in the 70-man field. When a weather delay halted play at 12:46 p.m. CDT, he had slipped to 51st. He planned to camp out in the clubhouse and watch results roll in, even though he preferred to not do that.
“There’s a few guys basically that I need some help from, essentially, to just not do anything super great, I guess. We’ll see,” said the two-time tour winner. “A few guys are behind me finishing now. If they have a great finish, they can jump me. I guess it’s out of my hands now. It’s going to be kind of helpless to refresh that FedEx Cup leaderboard every five minutes, but that’s probably what I’m going to be doing.
“I’ll try not to, but it’s hard not to.”
It was suggested that perhaps he could assuage some of his anxiety with a cold one. Well, maybe more than one.
“I didn’t even think about that, but that’s probably a great idea,” he replied. “Have a little four or five beers, take the edge off, and see what happens.”