After nearly 11 months of PGA Tour golf, only 30 players have a shot at FedEx Cup glory.
The Tour Championship will cap what has been a fascinating 2017/2018 PGA Tour season that has seen the emergence of some new stars, like Bryson DeChambeau ($6,700), and the return of one of the greats in Tiger Woods ($7,600).
The 30-man field will contest the event at the East Lake Golf Club and all players have a mathematical chance of hoisting the FedEx Cup and pocketing the US$10M prize.
Those inside the top five in the standings – DeChambeau, Justin Rose ($9,100), Tony Finau ($6,900), Dustin Johnson ($9,000) and defending FedEX Cup champion Justin Thomas ($8,200) – can win the FedEx Cup if they win the Tour Championship. They control their own destiny.
This week, the column will look at one player for each price range. I will try to find someone who is (slightly) less popular but offers strong upside.
East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia is a par 70 that plays 7,385 yards. There’s two par fives and both are reachable in two shots.
There’s four par threes and a couple of them are long.
The course was first opened in 1908 before being touched up by Donald Ross only five years later.
It was given another overhaul in the 1990s and has hosted the Tour Championship since 2004.
There’s water in play, penal rough and the greens are Bermuda grass.
Two weeks ago: The BMW Championship was a mixed event for the column.
I touched on nine players and six finished inside the top 19, including Rose who came second.
My lineups didn’t find the money though so here’s one last chance to end the season on a high.
This is arguably the toughest week of the season to find a solid line-up because there’s only 30 players.
The pricing is fair but you will need to differentiate yourself from the pack while still picking most of the top-scorers.
There’s a strong chance your roster will be duplicated this week. The nature of the scoring means you can fluctuate up and down the leaderboard for four days.
I will look for a mixture of form, course history and players with length from the tee.
East Lake plays relatively long and favours good drivers of the ball. If you’re accurate and long, even better.
Justin Rose ($9,100) – There’s only two players in this range and because Johnson may be having some relationship struggles, I will leave him out.
Rose has everything you want in a player for this event. The Englishman’s form is good, his numbers are off the charts and he’s finished inside the top 10 in his past five trips here.
Rory McIlroy ($8,600) – With the Ryder Cup looming, the Irishman will want to ensure his game is firing on all cylinders.
The greens will run fast this week and McIlroy always prefers quick putting surfaces.
He won here in 2016 and was second in 2014.
McIlroy is ninth on Tour in strokes gained: off the tee, the ideal starting formula.
Rickie Fowler ($7,300) – Given some of the big names he finds himself around, Fowler might go underused.
He was T8 at the BMW Championship a fortnight ago with all four rounds in the 60s. He has overcome his recent oblique injury.
The popular American is a consistent but not spectacular performer at East Lake.
Jon Rahm ($6,200) – The playoffs haven’t been kind to the fiery Spaniard but he was T7 here last year.
I like Rahm in this spot because of his length off his ability with the driver and I think people will be off him given the iffy recent form.
He’s fifth on Tour in strokes gained: off the tee and third in birdie average.
Paul Casey ($5,400) – If you follow Mike Miller’s excellent tournament sheets on smartgolfbets.com, it’s hard to miss Casey’s elite course history.
The Englishman hits it fairly long and straight, leaving him in a great position from the tee at East Lake.
Casey withdrew ahead of the final round of the BMW with a back injury and that should put people off. I will take a gamble on him.
Aaron Wise ($4,900) – The likely PGA Tour Rookie of the Year is the only rookie in the pack this week.
Most importantly, he’s 12th on Tour for birdie average and 30th in strokes gained: off the tee. These are the stats I am looking for here.
No Scrub-A-Dub or Piece of Chalk this week, the field is too small.