What a weekend of golf we have coming up! The 2019-20 PGA Tour season officially concludes this weekend with the Tour Championship from East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. The richest prize in all of golf, the $10 million FedEx Cup will be awarded to the winner of the Tour Championship, which has a very unique format.
As usual, we have a full preview, power rankings and betting tips for the Tour Championship below, which gets underway on early on Saturday morning Australian time.
The Tour Championship is unlike any other tournament on the PGA Tour in that it utilises a handicap system based on FedEx Cup points earned throughout the year and in the two playoff events to date.
125 players lined up at the Northern Trust two weeks ago, that number was cut to just 70 for the BMW Championship on the weekend. Only the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings following the BMW Championship have qualified for the Tour Championship, and players will start the tournament on different scores depending on where they finished in the standings.
Dustin Johnson started the FedEx Cup playoffs in 15th place in the standings. After winning the Northern Trust he jumped all the way to first place and had another strong performance at the BMW Championship, finishing in 2nd place to Jon Rahm to retain the top spot in the FedEx Cup standings. Due to that, Johnson will start the tournament with a two shot lead over his nearest rival at 10 under par, and the scaling of starting scores gradually winds down from there.
This year will be just the second time that the Tour Championship has used the handicap system to decide the winner of the tournament and the FedEx Cup. Last season, Justin Thomas started as the pre-tournament leader at 10 under par but finished T3 as Rory McIlroy, who started five shots behind, claimed his second FedEx Cup crown.
Below are the results of the two FedEx Cup playoff events so far as well as the current standings with the Tour Championship starting scores highlighted in red.
East Lake Golf Course in Atlanta, Georgia has been the host of the Tour Championship since the 2004 season. The course plays as a Par 70 at 7,319 yards and was originally designed by Tom Bendelow back in 1908. The course was re-worked by the famous Donald Ross not long after that, and remains one of the more picturesque courses on the annual PGA Tour schedule.
The layout is a fair test of golf for all different types of golfers, and with only the 30 most in-form players in the world in the field, it is always tough to find a formula for the winner because everyone is capable.
How can you not have DJ as No.1 this week. Not only does he start the tournament with a two shot advantage, but the gunslinger is the most in-form golfer in the world at the moment, coming off a dominant run in the PGA Tour and FedEx Cup playoff events. He finished 2nd to Collin Morikawa at the PGA Championship a few weeks ago before winning the Northern Trust and finishing 2nd again at the BMW Championship.
One of just two players to have beaten Dustin Johnson in his past three tournaments, Rahm starts the Tour Championship in second place at 8 under par. Rahm was fantastic at the BMW Championship on the weekend, sinking a monster 60-foot put in the first playoff hole to claim his second win of the season. Has been fantastic since his win at the Memorial seven weeks ago.
Sticking with the odds for No.3 as well, which sees Justin Thomas start in 3rd place at 7 under par. JT had the best PGA Tour season of any golfer, winning three times and starting the playoffs in first place in the FedEx Cup standings. He has had just an average playoffs run so far, finishing 49th in the Northern Trust and 25th in the BMW Championship. Has been on the cusp of winning his 2nd FedEx Cup for the last two years and can’t be ruled out.
Safe to say that the BMW Championship course last weekend didn’t really suit the in-form Collin Morikawa and he still finished 20th. Is still riding high after his win at the PGA Championship four weeks ago and will start the Tour Championship at 5 under par. East Lake should suit the pure ball striker much better.
Looking to become the first player to win three FedEx Cup’s this week and is also eagerly awaiting the birth of his first child. Despite some average form by his loft standards, McIlroy showed good signs at the BMW Championship and is tough to look past at East Lake Golf Club. Will start at 3 under par, so has a ton of work to do, but if anyone can go on a monumental run, it’s McIlroy.
Love the look of McIlroy to jump up into the top five here. He is a proven performer at East LEake Golf Club, having won the Tour Championship on two occasions. He sits just two shots behind fifth place with the starting handicaps, a deficit that can be erased within the span of the first few holes. At $3.40, there is a lot of value about the Northern Irishman here.
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