The PGA Tour reaches its last week of the season at the Tour Championship with just 30 players left in this gruelling Playoff format.
Marc Leishman went on a slightly mad one last week to make the weekend rather flat for all us viewers but Jason Day still managed to sneak a 4th place for us to continue a run of a place every event since The Open.
So, with one tournament remaining, surely that means it’s win time?!
This week’s event has a whole host of complicated scenarios for the coveted FedEx Cup trophy (and $10 million bonus) Rather than us explaining it, check out the PGA Tour’s explanations here.
The main one to remember is if any of the current top 5 win, they win the overall – Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Marc Leishman and John Rahm. All the other guys will need to win and hope a couple of permutations go their way. Think Premier League relegation battle…
⛳ Tour Championship Tips ⛳
As for the course, East Lake Golf Club in Georgia plays host and has done since 2004. The 7,358 yard par 70 consists of only 2 par 5’s, one of which is the 600 yard 18th which makes anything possible down the final stretch.
Even though yardage wise it sounds long, traditionally the winner here has been a top ball striker from tee to green. Every champion since 2010 finished the week inside the top 11 for GIR and driving accuracy (barring Billy Horschel on the latter), which shows that tactical approaches are the way forward. Many of the players have stated how important placement is on the difficult greens and to do that you need to be out the penal rough on the fairways.
Interestingly East Lake has some of narrowest fairways seen all year. Only Firestone averages less. Therefore, overall we would look at total driving, ball striking, GIR and proximity to the hole as the main set of stats. It’s still worth bearing in mind that the greens are notoriously tough and will require some good putting, maybe more so if you’re standing over a 5-footer that could bring you home $10 million…
Justin Rose (14/1 – add to your betslip)
Justin Rose ticks to many boxes to avoid backing this week. He is starting to find some real form in the Playoffs with 2 T10 finishes and an impressive T2 last time out.
He was never really in contention with Leishman’s insane scoring, but delve a little deeper and you’ll find that Rose has his tee to green game back. T6 for driving accuracy and 1st in GIR are the perfect combination for East Lake whilst his form here is exceptional.
His last 4 outings have resulted in 2nd, 4th, 6th, 2nd which puts him near the top of course specialists and it’s no real surprise when you think about his game and how it suits the track.
Horses for courses and hot streak in recent form makes Rose a no brainer.
Sergio Garcia (28/1 – add to your betslip)
If you’re looking for even some sort of value in such a condensed field, don’t look much further than Sergio Garcia. He’s had 4 top 10’s in his last 5 outings here including a 2nd placed finish in 2008 and his game should be suited to the test.
But it’s the fact he only just got into the event that makes him so appealing. A horror show on the 18th last week where he found rocks and spectator stands before somehow scrambling a par make you think of the headlines if he were to win here. He’s had a topsy turvy playoffs but will arrive here with just enough behind him in his game to make him an appealing bet.
T12 for total driving, 7th for ball striking and 15th for GIR sum up the capabilities of the Spaniard who could wrap up the season of his life in the perfect style.
Kevin Chappell (33/1 – add to your betslip)
When you think of long hitting ball strikers, Kevin Chappell will never be far from your mind. He is one of the longer hitters on Tour who has the ability to conquer tracks like this, but admittedly can also suffer with the short stick on occasions.
So when we saw that he was 3rd for putting average last week, we instantly felt he could be the perfect bet here. 18th for strokes gained tee to green, T27 for total driving and 55th ball striking prove his value but the fact he came so close on his debut run here last year only add to the appeal.
He lost out in a playoff to the imperious McIlroy and will only use that experience to help him push on this week.
Webb Simpson (50/1 – add to your betslip)
An extra little outside in Webb Simpson. Mainly because value wise there is few better. We all know how talented the former US Open winner is tee to green (27th strokes gained tee to green, T67 total driving) but he’s also had a couple of impressive outings here – 4th in 2013 and 5th the year before.
Plus he’s coming off the back of 3 top 10’s in his last 4 events including a T3 at the Wyndham before the Playoff craziness began.
For those sorts of odds definitely worth an each way punt.