Tour Championship at East Lake preview
Tour Championship at East Lake Preview
The Top 30 players in FedExCup points following the Monday finish (due to weather, Sunday’s final round was postponed) at the BMW Championship outside Philadelphia advanced to this week’s Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
In theory, every player in the field could win the FedExCup and its $10 million (U.S.) prize, but that’s not realistic. What is certain is that any of the players in the Top 5 in points would be FedExCup champion with a victory in the tournament. Those players are Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas. The Englishman Rose, incidentally, rose to the No. 1 ranking in the world for the first time in his career on Monday, supplanting Johnson.
Two players who were in the Top 30 in points entering the BMW Championship fell out: former FedExCup champion Jordan Spieth (capping a disappointing season, it’s the first time he will miss the Tour Championship – he won it and the Cup in 2015) and Emiliano Grillo. The two who jumped in were Keegan Bradley, who rose from No. 52 in points to No. 6 with Monday’s victory over Rose in a playoff, and Xander Schauffele, who jumped from 41st to 18th. Tiger Woods sits 20th in points.
Mike Weir is the only Canadian to win the Tour Championship, finishing at 14-under 270 in 2001 to edge Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els and David Toms by a shot. There is no player from Canada in the 2018 field. Adam Hadwin had been 47th in points and rose to 36th following his T19 at the BMW Championship.
This is the last year the FedExCup playoffs will look like they do as major changes are on the way, including shortening the post-season to three events. It will still conclude at the Tour Championship. East Lake is a par 70 measuring nearly 7,400 yards.
Tour Championship Odds Favorites
Rose and Johnson opened as co-favorites on the Sports Interaction golf board at +708. East Lake clearly serves Rose well even though he is yet to win the tournament. He hasn’t finished outside the Top 10 since 2011 with two runners-up (’15 & ’12). Rose has yet to win the FedExCup.
Johnson was T17 last year in the Tour Championship and in the Top 10 his previous four visits before that. He comes off a T24 at the BMW. Rory was +900, and Justin Thomas came in at +1100 as he looks to become the first repeat FedExCup champion ever. Thomas won the $10 million a year ago with a runner-up finish in the Tour Championship to Schauffele. McIlroy won the event in 2016.
Woods is +1600 to win the Tour Championship for a third time. Phil Mickelson is +4000 to do the same.
Tour Championship Predictions
I am going to with the Paul Casey at +4000 as he’s been Top 5 each of the past three years in Atlanta. Yes, Casey withdrew from Monday’s final round of the BMW with a “back” issue but he wasn’t going to win and that extra day of rest could benefit him. Rose does enough to win the FedExCup as well and knocks off Dechambeau.