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Justin Rose and Luke Donald stay calm ahead of $10million shoot-out in FedEx Cup

Justin Rose was faultlessly diplomatic in claiming that money would not be a distraction at the start of the Tour Championship in Atlanta on Thursday.


But even he could not dispute the size of the windfall on offer if he seals a second straight PGA Tour title on Sunday night — one that would guarantee he became the first British winner of the FedEx Cup.

Glowing in the wake of his victory in last week’s BMW Championship in Illinois, elevating him to third in the FedEx standings, Rose is on the cusp of securing a $10million (£6.4million) bonus cheque.

“Of course it’s a huge bonus,” he admitted. “But thinking that way about it doesn’t help you play better golf. The key and the strategy is still to do what you do best, to use all your skills, to stay in the moment. The challenge is to deal with the pressure of the $10million and to keep your game in check.”

Prodigiously wealthy already, owning homes in Florida and the Bahamas, Rose ought not to worry unduly. The 31 year-old spoke with the ease of one who, until his triumph at the BMW, had not even been in contention to be in the top 30 competing at East Lake this week, and he insisted he felt no burden of expectation.

“It’s an opportunity I didn’t foresee happening. That’s my attitude. My view is that I have nothing to lose. I haven’t been in this situation all year.”

Chasing him hard for the FedEx riches is Luke Donald, a player who could yet finish top of both the American and European money lists. In the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, he is more than £1million clear of nearest challenger Rory McIlroy and appears all but unassailable.

As with Rose, though, he must win at East Lake to ensure that he secures the FedEx Cup, in which he finished runner-up to Jim Furyk 12 months ago.

Asked about the colossal bonus pool, Donald replied: “My coach, I’m sure, will get a percentage of something. I’m not really thinking about the money. I’ve been very fortunate — it’s not like I can’t afford to buy things. I have two nice houses. I don’t spend a lot on materialistic stuff.”

One also in clover on Wednesday was McIlroy, who cashed in on his growing popularity by signing a multiyear sponsorship deal with Spanish bank Santander. McIlroy joins F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button at the forefront of the bank’s UK advertising. The deal is understood to be worth seven figures with bonuses.

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