The 2016 FedEx Cup will be decided this week at the Tour Championship at East Lake in Georgia. Dustin Johnson heads the standings but any of the top five will take the Cup if they win this event.
The five men who will win the FedEx Cup and the $10 million bonus prize with victory at the Tour Championship are: Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott, Jason Day and Paul Casey. Rory McIlroy is in sixth place on the standings and he will need to win at East Lake and for DJ to finish tied second or worse if he’s to win the FedEx Cup.
Theoretically, anybody in the 30-man field could take the big prize, but for 30th placed Charl Schwartzel to do so, he would have to win at East Lake and the leading players would have to perform terribly. There are countless possible scenarios though and a great deal to play for, both in terms of prize money for this event and a share of the bonus pool.
Last year Jordan Spieth took the title at East Lake, together with the FedEx Cup, posting four rounds in the 60s. He finished four clear of Danny Lee, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson.
Justin Rose swing sequence:
Phil Mickelson makes his 18th Tour Championship start this week, that will put him one ahead of Jim Furyk for most appearances ever.
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 15 previous occasions and was the venue for the 1963 Ryder Cup.
With this year’s Ryder Cup just a week away, a number of U.S. team members will complete their final preparation in this event. Others will be looking to impress captain Davis Love III with a good performance to try and earn the final wildcard pick for Hazeltine. Bubba Watson, Gary Woodland, Ryan Moore, Justin Thomas and Kevin Chappell are all possible candidates.
In 2008 the course at East Lake 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 although low scoring is not uncommon. The winning score has been around the 10-under-par mark since the changes were made. Last year Jordan Spieth won at 9-under-par.
The nines have been reversed for this season. The course will no longer finish with a par-3. Instead a 600-yard par-5 will provide the stage for the climax of this event.
It looks like being warm and humid through the tournament with a threat of rain throughout.
Venue: East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia
Date: Sep 22-25
Course stats: par 70, 7,385 yards
Purse: $8,500,000 Winner: $1,530,000
Defending Champion: Jordan Spieth (-9)
Thursday 22 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Friday 23 – Sky Sports 4 from 6pm
Saturday 24 – Sky Sports 4 from 4pm
Sunday 25 – Sky Sports 4 from 5pm
Dustin Johnson – He looks in formidable form at the moment following victory in the BMW Championship. His driving is superb and his putting much improved. He’ll be tough to beat.
Paul Casey – Second in his last two starts, Casey appears back to his best. He has two previous top-5 finishes at East Lake.
Gary Woodland – He’ll be desperate to capture Davis Love’s attention before the U.S. captain makes his final pick for the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine. He played at East Lake in 2014 and he finished that event with rounds of 63 and 67.
Key holes: 9th. 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.
18th. A lengthy par-5 that can be stretched to 600 yards, this finishing hole will offer the power hitters the chance of reaching in two. It’s a testing second though with bunkers guarding the front part of the green.
Skills required: Handling the pressure. With such vast sums of money on the line, the tension tends to be pretty high down the stretch in this event. The man who can put that pressure to one side will stand on top at the end this week.