The PGA Tour season concludes this week with the usual closer – the Tour Championship and at the end of the four days someone is going to walk away with the better part of $10 million.
The beauty of this tournament is that five men are in control of their own destiny. They are Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Marc Leishman and Jon Rahm. If any of them win this tournament they will scoop the FedEx Cup prize. Any of the others need some help to walk off with the big bunce.
2016 – Rory McIlroy
2015 – Jordan Spieth
2014 – Billy Horschel
2013 – Henrik Stenson
2012 – Brandt Snedeker
2011 – Bill Haas
2010 – Jim Furyk
2009 – Tiger Woods
2008 – Vijay Singh
2007 – Tiger Woods
As ever we head to East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta to conclude the season. Some trees have come down in the storms since this tournament was last played but nothing else has changed so those who have been here before will know what they are tackling.
This is a ball strikers course with a premium on accuracy from tee to green. The lake is in play on a number of the holes and the greens are relatively small and fast so going into them from the short grass will represent a significant advantage on the 7,362 yard par 70 track.
You never win at East Lake without putting well but the greens are fair and are not the hardest to read so even poor putters can get the job done here, or run close, as the likes of Billy Horschel, Ryan Moore and Webb Simpson have shown in the past.
Only the top 30 in the FedEx Cup rankings have qualified for this tournament so this is a very select field with the best players of the season teeing it up. There are eight debutants in the field so 22 players will be returning to Atlanta for the event.
As I eluded to above five men are in control of their own destiny but there is a mathematical equation that allows any of the 30 players to win the big money. The further down the rankings they start the week the less their chance of landing the overall prize is.
Jordan Spieth heads the rankings heading into the week and he leads the betting too at 5/1. The former winner around here looks like the man to beat but this is not a course that anyone is a certainty around given all the perils that lie in wait.
Dustin Johnson is an 8/1 shot this week but he has never finished better than fifth around here which would be a concern. His positive is that he doesn’t need to crank it up to get around but his last couple of tournaments since edging out Spieth in The Northern Trust have been hugely indifferent.
Rickie Fowler is the third favourite this week after a positive run in the BMW Championship last week. He is yet to finish better than eighth here though and at 10/1 that has to be a concern. He has arrived in decent form in the past too.
Justin Thomas might be streaky and he might only be playing the tournament for the second time but he will be popular at 14/1. He is the same price as the debutant Jon Rahm and the much more experienced Justin Rose and Jason Day. It is 20/1 bar those named.
I’m going with a couple of main bets this week. I’ll get started with Justin Rose who has clicked into form at just the right time. He has not been outside the top six in his last four outings here and has been runner up twice. Rose has yet to be outside the top 10 in the playoffs and the last time he was in the state of Georgia teeing it up he was nudged out in a playoff to Sergio Garcia at The Masters. He’s without a doubt good enough to land the goods here.
Kevin Chappell came second here last year losing to Rory McIlroy in a playoff and that doesn’t surprise me because his game fits this place like a glove. He is straight as a die off the tee and excellent into the greens. If the shorter clubs play ball this week then I expect Chappell, who has won since last year, to go very close once again.
In a 30 man field stacked in quality there is not too much down the market to get excited about but I remain convinced that Kyle Stanley is going to contend in one of these events. He hasn’t done it in the playoff events that I have backed him in so far but on both occasions he has started very strongly and then thrown in a monster Horlicks of a hole which has catapulted him out of contention. If he can keep that big number off the card his profile should suit this play like a dream.
Back J.Rose to win Tour Championship (e/w) for a 1.5/10 stake at 15.00 with BetVictor (1/4 1-4)
Back K.Chappell to win Tour Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 36.00 with Unibet (1/4 1-4)
Back him here:
Back K.Stanley to win Tour Championship (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with Skybet (1/5 1-6)