The 2009 FedEx Cup will be decided this week at the PGA Tour Championship at East Lake in Georgia. Tiger Woods leads the way but anyone in the field can still take the top prize.
After his victory at the BMW Championship last week Tiger Woods sits atop the pile in the race for the $10 million reward. But the points are re-set this week so, technically, any of the 30 men who will tee it up have a shot at glory.
The first five in the standings, Woods, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Heath Slocum and Zach Johnson retain a points advantage and, if any of them win at East Lake, they take the $10m. However, if another player steps up and claims victory at the Tour Championship then a multitude of scenarios and potential winners of the FedEx Cup are possible.
A number of men who were favourites to contest the FedEx Cup prior to the playoffs have not made it to East Lake. In fact, the top four in last year’s FedEx Cup will be absent from the Tour Championship. Last year’s FedEx Cup champion Vijay Singh, 2008 Tour Championship winner Camilo Villegas, Sergio Garcia and Anthony Kim all failed to secure their spots in the top 30.
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 eight 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 GC, Georgia
Date: September 17-20
Course stats: par 70, 7,154 yards
Purse: $7,500,000 Winner: $1,350,000
Defending Champion: Camilo Villegas (-7)
Thursday 17 – Live on British Eurosport 2 from 6pm
Friday 18 – Live on British Eurosport 2 from 6pm
Saturday 19 – Live on British Eurosport 2 from 5pm
Sunday 20 – Live on British Eurosport from 4.30pm then Eurosport 2 from 6.30pm
Tiger Woods – He’s seen it all before and the money is of no consequence to him. He’ll just be looking to continue the dominant form he showed last week and notch up PGA Tour victory number 72. Can anybody stop him?
Padraig Harrington – It’s been a case of “so near yet so far” for Harrington in tournaments over the past weeks. If he can eliminate the disaster hole or rogue poor round, he’ll be right there at the death.
Jim Furyk – A steely competitor who seems to thrive as the pressure builds. He’ll keep grinding away right to the end and, as other falter, he could step in to the breach.
Key hole: 18th. A 235-yard par 3 with deep bunkers left and right of a two-tiered green. When the winds against, many will need a fairway wood to get up here. A par here is a tough ask, particularly if it’s for victory on Sunday afternoon; even more so if it would be worth $10m.
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.