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$15 Million (!) Is Up For Grabs At The Tour Championship At East Lake

Icon Sportswire. Getty Images.

This is it! Quote unquote Super Season all comes down to this weekend at the Tour Championship at East Lake. These guys have been playing for close to a year, including SIX major championships, to accumulate FedEx Cup points and get to the Tour Championship for a shot at the $15 million prize. 

The standings have earned these guys their positioning to start the week. I keep going back and forth on the staggered stroke thing, which is in its 3rd year. The last year the system was different, Tiger Woods won the 2018 Tour Championship, yet Justin Rose took home the FedEx Cup by making birdie on the 18th hole. I don't think it's talked about enough how close Tiger was to not just winning that iconic Tour Championship, but also taking home the hardware/payday for the entire damn season. Regardless, it's bizarre as hell to give out two trophies. It felt equally weird as hell to make the shift in 2019, but I think it adds a little more gas to the BMW as guys jockey for strokes, and it aligns everyone's efforts down the stretch at East Lake. So I guess I'm in. 

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Here's your leaderboard as we start on Thursday, along with the Tour's primer on how it all works:

Dustin Johnson was the leader going into last year's Tour Championship and received the -10 head start. He finished the job at -21 to win the Tour Championship, while Xander Schauffele was actually the low scorer for the week by 3 strokes with a final score of 265.

In 2019, Rory McIlroy won the Tour Championship by shooting the lowest round of the week (267) after starting in 5th with a -5 score. Justin Thomas was the leader going in at -10, and ultimately finished T-3 at -13. So with a very small sample here, there's evidence to support that it's far from a foregone conclusion that Patrick Cantlay will walk away the champ here - far from it.

Leaderboards sorted by both score to par (including the starting strokes) AND by total score from the past two years:

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2020 Final Standings

2020 Best Scores (see score totals on far right)

2019 Final Standings

2019 Best Scores (see totals on far right)

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Recent Winners

The Course

East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, GA is a par 70 measuring 7,346 yards. It's most well known for having been Bobby Jones' club. It's been said that his first and final rounds were played here. Started in 1904, it's gone through a variety of re-designs and tweaks over the years, but is primarily regarded as a Donald Ross design. It hosted its first Tour Championship in 1998 and was named the permanent location for it starting in 2004.

Sedgefield (Wyndham Championship) and Detroit GC are your two other Donald Ross designs on Tour. All 3 of these are courses that generally give everyone in the field an opportunity to score - they're not overpowered by length. East Lake features 74 bunkers and 6 water hazards on the property, which is most prominent on the dangerous 8th tee shot. That's one that separates the men from the boys. The Bermuda greens are typically some of the quickest on Tour, which I guess is typical of golf in Georgia.

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Best Hole - 18th hole, 590 yards

Kevin C. Cox. Getty Images.

The 18th hole at East Lake is heckin sweet. When I think about hitting high draws on the range, I think about this hole and the way it slopes right to left down the hill towards the lake. A good drive on the right line will leave you a bit of a downhill lie in the fairway, but a good look at getting home in two. The opportunity to make up multiple strokes down the stretch here is what I like about it so much. The 8th hole I mentioned before is a beast, but there's too much on the line here coming home for this hole not to be then pick.

The Weather

Pretty consistent, pretty calm, surprisingly not that warm. Should be a great week.

TV Coverage

Thursday: Golf Channel 1-6 PM ET

Friday: Golf Channel 1-6 PM ET

Saturday: Golf Channel 1-2:30 PM ET, NBC 2:30-7 PM ET

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Sunday: Golf Channel Noon-1:30 PM ET, NBC 1:30-6 PM ET

The Trophy

Sam Greenwood. Getty Images.


This is a trophy that we see all year in the form of logos, promos, etc. It represents the FedEx Cup and the PGA Tour as a whole. I think there's a lot of apathy extended towards the FedEx Cup as a whole, but I'm a fan. I'm in on anything that gives me one more thing to track, one more piece of action to watch or bet on. The FedEx Cup does that. I know it doesn't draw in the casual sports fan like the 4 majors do and probably never will, but that's fine. Those who watch golf closely should be embracing this thing. It may not be perfect and you can disagree with the way the points or schedule is laid out, but right now this is the best we got and I think it's pretty damn good. 

As for the trophy itself? I guess it's fine. 7/10. Would go a lot better with a big novelty check though.

The Field

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So this week is obviously a bit tricky with the starting strokes. So we're working with 2 boards here. Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm are the co-favorites at +300 to win the Tour Championship, with Cantlay starting at -10 and Rahm 4 shots back at -6. Pretty incredible that Rahm is basically spotting Cantlay a stroke a round. He's the favorite at half the odds of the next closest guys at +550 to shoot then lowest total score this week. 

When it comes to the Tour Championship itself, the odds at the top are just too short for my liking. Plus putters go hot and cold from week to week. Round to round, really. I'm not saying Cantlay is going to putt poorly, his performance last week just isn't a sustainable one. I like Justin Thomas +1600, who's starting within striking distance at -4. Showed some serious life at the Northern Trust and this course fits his game well enough for him to make a charge. He's finished Top 10 in the past two years and did enough to take the FedEx Cup home here in 2017 when Xander Schauffele beat him out by a stroke for the Tour Championship. 

And that's exactly who I'm taking for lowest score. X +1200. Guy loves East Lake. Like I said, he won in 2017, he was lowest score last year, and was only a shot back in 2019. Visually speaking, this course looks a lot like Kasumigaseki where X won his gold medal last month too. This guy is going to make so much dough at East Lake for so many years.

Other Plays

X to win +3300 - Might as well sprinkle him to win the whole damn thing. -2 is a hole, but never know.

Tony Finau To Win +750 - Just two back, has Cantlay right where he wants him

Corey Conners Top 10 +350 - Course rewards a well-rounded game and Conners has been having a great year. He's like a JT lite. Great iron player.

Corey Conners over Hideki Matsuyama Round 1 -105 - See above

Fade Patrick Reed - Whatever you can find. Nothing listed in terms of matchups yet, I just don't think a guy can roll up after double pneumonia and expect to beat some of these guys over 72 holes.

Playoff +400 - Feels like we're in one of these every single week. Haven't had one in the Tour Championship in many moons though. We're due.