The 2009 FedEx Cup will be decided this week at the PGA Tour Championship at East Lake in Georgia. Matt Kuchar heads the standings but any of the top five could secure the $10 million first prize with victory in this event.
FedEx Cup points were re-set after the BMW Championship so, theoretically, any player who made the top-30 eligible to compete in The Tour Championship could win the Cup. But, the top five ranked players – Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Charley Hoffman, Steve Stricker and Paul Casey are in control of their own fate. If any of them win at East Lake they will take the top prize of $10 million.
In last year’s Tour Championship, Phil Mickelson took the tournament victory with a fabulous closing round of 65. But it wasn’t enough to take the FedEx Cup. Lefty began the week too far down the standings to overhaul Tiger Woods. As the World Number 1 finished in second place at East Lake, he comfortably picked up his second FedEx Cup title.
Tiger won’t be able to repeat that feat in 2010 however. He was ranked 42nd after the BMW Championship so is not eligible to play at East Lake – it’s the first time in his professional career that he’s been ineligible to compete in a tournament. Also missing out are Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Stewart Cink and Ian Poulter.
Paul Casey leads British hopes going into this week. He currently sits in fifth place on the standings. He’ll be looking to put in another solid performance to further increase the controversy over his omission from the European Ryder Cup side. Luke Donald goes to East Lake in seventh place on the points list with Justin Rose in 13th.
East Lake Golf Club is one of the oldest in the USA and was the home club of legendary amateur Bobby Jones. The course has hosted the Tour Championship on nine previous occasions and was the venue for the 1963 Ryder Cup. It’s a challenging track where super-low scoring is not the norm. Look for a winning total around the eight-under-par mark.
Venue: East Lake Golf Club, Georgia
Date: Sep 23-26
Course stats: par 72, 7,242 yards
Purse: $7,500,000 Winner: $1,350,000
Defending Champion: Phil Mickelson (-9)
Thursday 23 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 6pm
Friday 24 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 6pm
Saturday 25 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 3pm
Sunday 26 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 4pm
Steve Stricker – He’s king of the playoffs and is the only man to have finished in the top-10 in all three so far this year. He’s currently fourth in the rankings so knows a win at East Lake will secure him the FedEx Cup title.
Paul Casey – The Englishman’s playoff performances have provided Colin Montgomerie’s critics with plenty of ammunition and he’ll be looking to continue that with a solid performance here. It’s his debut at East lake and he’ll be hungry for a victory.
Phil Mickelson – Lefty won this event last year despite recording a quadruple bogey in his first round. He’s coming on to form as displayed by a tied eighth at the BMW Championship around a course he openly dislikes.
Key hole: 18th. A 235 yard par 3 with deep bunkers left and right of a two-tiered green. When the wind’s against, many will need a fairway wood to get up. A par here is a tough ask, particularly if it’s for victory on Sunday afternoon; even more so if it would be worth $10 million.
Skills required: Handling the pressure. With such huge prizes available and so many potential vacillations, every shot counts. Coming down the stretch on Sunday, the pressure could be massive. The man who stands up to it best will reap the rewards.