Another PGA Tour season comes to a close this week when the 30 leading players of the campaign will head to Atlanta to compete in the Tour Championship where someone is going to walk off $18 million richer.
Rory McIlroy enjoyed that honour last year when he chased down Scottie Scheffler to win the FedExCup and he is looking to do the same thing again this week. 29 other form horses are out to win a bounty of their own.
2022 – Rory McIlroy
2021 – Patrick Cantlay
2020 – Dustin Johnson
2019 – Rory McIlroy
2018 – Tiger Woods
2017 – Xander Schauffele
2016 – Rory McIlroy
2015 – Jordan Spieth
2014 – Billy Horschel
2013 – Henrik Stenson
As ever we go to East Lake Country Club to determine the latest multi-millionaire in the sport. We’ve had a different mix of courses in the play-offs so far. The trend of the playoff events so far have been a tougher setup than before and we’re not going to get any different here. We are back to ball striking purity and a solid test of all departments of the game on a track that will see good shots rewarded but bad ones penalised.
The course is a par 70 and it can stretch out to 7,362 yards, although this time of year the air is always quite humid in this part of the world so the track is unlikely to play its full yardage. A look back in history will tell you there is nothing for insane power here, instead we need players who keep the ball in play and can have a good week on the greens. Accuracy into the greens is probably the most important factor here as it isn’t the easiest course to scramble on.
30 men have earned the right to end their season in Atlanta and they will all be looking to chase down Scottie Scheffler who enters the tournament with the two shot lead as the number one in the FedExCup standings. He controls his own destiny and will lead by two beginning the week from the BMW Championship winner Viktor Hovland while the champion here last year, Rory McIlroy, is back to defend the title from three shots back.
Jon Rahm is a bit of a forgotten man heading into the Tour Championship and he’ll start four shots back with the winner in two of the last three weeks, Lucas Glover, five off the lead starting out the week. The other players within six of the lead at Max Homa, Patrick Cantlay, The Open champion Brian Harman, The US Open winner Wyndham Clark and Matthew Fitzpatrick. With the Ryder Cup on the horizon and Zach Johnson picking his wildcards at the end of the week the likes of Collin Morikawa, Sam Burns and Jordan Spieth will have the spotlight on them.
As is now the customary case we have the handicap system applied to the leaderboard at the beginning of the week with the highest point scorer in Scottie Scheffler starting 10 under par and the stragglers into the tournament beginning on level par. Here is the leaderboard before a tee ball is struck.
The final 30 heading to @TOURChamp are locked in 🔒 pic.twitter.com/nLUYa0mB5I
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 21, 2023
Given that he holds a two shot lead on the field beginning the week, it is no surprise that Scottie Scheffler is the 6/4 favourite but before anyone thinks that he is a sure fire thing, he was in this position a year ago and didn’t get the job done and he was playing a lot better going into that week than he is at the minute. Even when he played well last week he failed to push on and get the job done and having never won the FedExCup title he might feel more pressure on him this week.
Rory McIlroy has twice won in the handicap system and he starts higher up the leaderboard here than he did in either of those wins so that might entice a number of players in at 7/2 this week. He does have to make up a three shot deficit on Scheffler but this is a place where McIlroy generally brings his best stuff with him and if that is the case this week then it isn’t hard to argue that he could be value even at this price. It is a little short for me though.
Viktor Hovland was the man who denied Scheffler the title at the BMW Championship and he certainly wouldn’t be the first player to win the last two events to take down the FedExCup. He is 5/1 to do just that and looks to have the game to go very well around East Lake. That was probably the biggest title of his career last week though and you wonder if that will have taken too much emotional energy out of him. He is one to perhaps get on after he has got a slow round out of his system.
Jon Rahm is the fourth on the leaderboard starting out this week and he is fourth on the market as well at 10/1. This will be the seventh time he has competed around here and his 68.25 scoring average will equate to something like seven under par for the week and -13 would give him a genuine shot at winning the FedExCup for the first time. The issue is the quality of the three above him but I wouldn’t rule him out, although a couple of indifferent playoff efforts so far is a turn off.
Tour Championship Winner Betting
The top four might take some shifting this year but this is a course which doesn’t lack for jeopardy so I’ll go with one a little further down the field to improve and run into a place if he can’t actually win the title. That player is Max Homa, one of the players who begins the week -4 for the tournament and who looks to be in decent touch and ready to make a real tilt at the FedExCup title over the course of the four days.
Homa shot a 62 in the second round here last year. Admittedly that was with preferred lies but it still shows that he has it in him to score well around this golf course and were he to shoot a score in that region this week it would have him -12 with three rounds to go and bang in contention to win this tournament. We saw Homa shoot 62 in the second round last week so we know he has that kind of scoring in him and I’ll pay to see what he has to offer here.
72 Hole Scoring Betting
The other two bets I like this week come in the tournament without the handicap system applied to it and Collin Morikawa is the first I like. This test is so much about the long game and there still aren’t too many players who drive it as accurately and fire deadly irons to the extent that Morikawa does. At one under he probably arrives at East Lake not really thinking about winning the tournament so he has that freedom on his side but he should also have motivation to go well as he seeks a Ryder Cup wildcard at the end of the week. Morikawa comes in off the back of two solid efforts in the playoffs and if the putter lights up with no expectation on him he could score very well this week.
The other player who probably has no winning intentions this week but still has something to play for is Sepp Straka. He is a tournament winner on the PGA Tour this season and only last month too so he feels a big price. He probably can’t win the FedExCup from level par but he can certainly shoot 72 good holes and he might need to if he wants to achieve his goal of earning a place in the Ryder Cup team. Straka was T4 in GIR here a year ago and carded 12 under which is the sort of score which has you right in the mix over the 72 holes. With no tournament winning pressure on him I’ll pay to see how this pure iron striker goes.
Back M.Homa to win Tour Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 29.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-5)
Back C.Morikawa to win 72 Hole Tournament (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 23.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-5)
Back him here:
Back S.Straka to win 72 Hole Tournament (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 81.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-5)
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