The 2017 FedEx Cup culminates this week with the Tour Championship at East Lake. Bryson DeChambeau leads the rankings but any of those in the top five on the standings will claim the Cup if they win this event.
Tour Championship Preview, TV Times
Xander Schauffele is defending the Tour Championship and Justin Thomas is defending the FedEx Cup, going into the season-ending event on the PGA Tour this week at East Lake in Georgia.
At fifth place on the standings, Thomas could win the FedEx Cup for a second straight year if he wins at East Lake. Currently 18th on the standings, Schauffele needs to win and for plenty of other players to falter.
The five men who will win the FedEx Cup and the $10 million bonus that goes along with it with victory in the Tour Championship are: Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas.
Having won the first two FedEx Cup playoff events, Bryson DeChambeau holds a big lead in the standings. But this is his first appearance in The Tour Championship and there are no guarantees. If one of the others in the top-five win, they will claim the FedEx Cup and, if DeChambeau falters, others could step up to the top spot.
In theory, all 30 players in the field at East Lake have a chance to win the FedEx Cup but, for 30th ranked Patton Kizzire to take the top prize, the leading players would have to suffer a terrible week. There are all sorts of possible scenarios though and everyone in the field has a lot to play for.
World Number 1 Justin Rose will be looking to bounce back from the disappointment of losing a playoff to Keegan Bradley in the BMW Championship. He has recorded five straight top-10s at East Lake so will feel confident this week.
Tiger Woods returns to the Tour Championship for the first time since 2013. He won at East Lake in 2007 and has four further second place finishes. Phil Mickelson will make his 20th Tour Championship start.
In total – 11 players on the U.S. Ryder Cup team and six on the European Team will start at East Lake.
The Tour Championship began life as the Nabisco Championship in 1987 when Tom Watson was the winner. It became the Tour Championship in 1991 and has since been won by some greats of the game, including Paul Azinger, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. Last year, Xander Schauffele took the win.
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.
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 the winning total was 12-under.
The weather forecast is good with dry, warm conditions expected
Venue: East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia
Date: Sep 20-23
Course stats: par 70, 7,385 yards
Defending champion: Xander Schauffele (-12)
How to watch The Tour Championship
Thursday 20 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 6.30pm
Friday 21 – Sky Sports Golf from 6.30pm
Saturday 22 – Sky Sports Golf from 5.30pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 8pm
Sunday 23 – Sky Sports Golf from 5.30pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm
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Players to watch:
The top five – DeChambeau, Rose, Finau, Johnson and Thomas will be pushing for the win and the $10 million first prize, but who might sneak up and take the win at East Lake?
Billy Horschel – He won at East Lake in 2014 and took the FedEx Cup title to boot. He’s been on great form with tied third place finishes in both the Northern Trust and the BMW Championship.
Rory McIlroy – Another former winner of both Tour Championship and FedEx Cup (2016), Rory has been showing signs of returning to his best. He finished two back of the playoff in the BMW Championship.
Xander Schauffele – The defending champion has something to prove after he was overlooked by Jim Furyk for the final Ryder Cup wildcard pick. He was tied third in the BMW Championship.
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.