The 2011 FedEx Cup will be decided this week at the PGA Tour Championship by Coca Cola at East Lake in Georgia. Webb Simpson heads the standings but any of the top five can secure the $10 million first prize with a victory here.
In last year’s Tour Championship, Jim Furyk held off Luke Donald to take the victory and the $10 million bonus prize. Furyk won’t be back this year to defend his title as he failed to make it into the top-30 on the standings after the BMW Championship. Only the top-30 go on to battle for the title at East Lake.
After his win at the BMW last week, Justin Rose is the best placed Brit on the list in third place. Luke Donald is just one behind in fourth. Either man could take the FedEx Cup with a victory in this tournament, as could Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar. The other 25 men in the field could still, theoretically, take the big prize but they’ll have to rely on other players’ results to make it happen.
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.
In 2008 the course was closed for a few months with a view towards recreating the layout’s original, firm and fast playing characteristics. The overhaul was a success. It’s a challenging track where super-low scoring is not the norm. Look for a winning total around the eight-under-par mark. Having said that, the rough looks to be slightly less punishing this season and there have not been any significant changes to the layout since 2010.
Venue: East Lake Golf Club, Georgia
Date: Sep 22-25
Course stats: par 72, 7,242 yards
Purse: $8,000,000 Winner: $1,440,000
Defending Champion: Jim Furyk (-8)
Thursday 22 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 6pm
Friday 23 – Live on Sky Sports 4 from 7pm
Saturday 24 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 6pm
Sunday 25 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 5pm
Luke Donald – The Englishman was runner-up here in 2010 and he knows that going one better this time will secure him the FedEx Cup and the $10 million bonus prize. He’d love to earn the win here and consolidate his position as the world’s number 1 ranked golfer.
Adam Scott – He remains in great form and has finished in the top-10 on three of his last five outings. He’s a previous winner of the Tour Championship and could well make it a second victory in the event this week.
Matt Kuchar – The last man who’s in total control of his own destiny this week. Currently ranked fifth on the standings, a victory here will guarantee Kuchar the lucrative first prize. He’s arguably the most consistent player on the PGA Tour and comes into this event on the back of five straight top-25 finishes.
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 here. A par 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.