Tour Championship: It’s all to play for as Tiger misses out on the chance to defend his title

With Tiger Woods out of the race for the FedEx Cup, David Kristiansen looks ahead to PGA Tour season finale, the Tour Championship, which gets underway this weekend at the East Lake Golf Club.

David Kristiansen

The PGA Tour season finale takes place this weekend as the winner of the $15m jackpot will be confirmed. One player who will not be there to defend his 2018 win is Tiger Woods as he was one of the 25 players cut from the competition at the BMW Championship last week.

Justin Thomas secured victory at the BMW Championship with a new course record of 61 (11 under par), which also saw him take the lead in the Fed Ex Cup. He led by six shots going into Sunday’s final round and even though Patrick Cantlay cut the lead in half Thomas’ victory was never in doubt.

Tiger Woods needed a top 12 finish to be able to have an opportunity to defend his title from last year’s Tour Championship, but beside a solid Saturday 67 he never broke 70 and missed out on the final tournament of the season by a clear margin.

The Course

Course: East Lake Golf Club

Length: 7307 yards (Par 70)

Greens: Bermuda grass

Opened: 1913

Architect: Donald Ross

The season wraps up with the Tour Championship at East Lake golf club in Atlanta this weekend. As always, it’s a 30 player no cut event but this year showcases a new format with a staggered leader board based on the Fed Ex Cup standing leading into the event.

That means that Justin Thomas who is the leader will start the event -10, number two Patrick Cantlay will start at -8, number three Brooks Koepka starts at -7 and so on all the way down to the five last players who made it into the event who will start the tournament at even par.

After a couple of weeks with winning scores in the mid-20s we are back at East Lake, a course where the winning score with regular scoring format has been just around the ten under mark.

The Donald Ross design is a classical golf course with hard to hit fairways, brutal rough and lightning fast Bermuda greens protected by a lot of water.

With six par 4s over 450 yards and all the par 3s clocking in at 197 yards and above, mid to long irons will be key this week and if you on top of that can be pretty straight off the tee to avoid the gnarly rough around this place, you are close to the winning formula.

The greens here are regularly some of the fastest on tour so look at how players perform especially on fast Bermuda greens.

Many of the players draws comparisons to Augusta because of the big fast greens and a lot of undulations in the fairways that lead to some awkward stances on approaches.

Here are some of the thing I will be looking at/for:

  • Strokes gained approach
  • Proximity from 175-200 and 200+
  • Fairways gained
  • Bermuda putting
  • Par 4 scoring 450-500 yards

The Picks

Brooks Koepka

Winner With FedEx Cup Starting Strokes at 6.00*

Koepka has used the 2019 season so cement his place as the far and away best player in the world. Adding his fourth major and picking up his first WGC title a month ago.

A couple of mediocre performances to start the playoffs don’t concern me since we know that when he first smells a title he usually closes.

I think we get good value here because yes, he starts three shots back of JT but we usually get Brooks at 7-8 to 1 in 150 players field, here he just has to beat 29 other golfers and he starts with a head start on 27 of them.

I don’t need to tell you that the stats line up for the best player in the world, but it is worth mentioning that Bermuda is his preferred putting surface and that he gained almost ten strokes on the field the last time he putted on Bermuda at the WGC at TPC Southwind.

If you just want to bet him to win the event without the staggered leader board FansBet also offer Koepka to win without FedEx Cup Starting Strokes at 10.00*

Webb Simpson

Winner With FedEx Cup Starting Strokes at 21.00*

Starting the tie six shots behind Justin Thomas, Webb is entering the week with runner up finishes in three of his last seven starts.

He loves fast Bermuda greens and has had a handle on this course in the past with three top five finishes including fourth last year. He ranks fourth in fairways gained and leads the field in proximity from over 200 yards over the last 50 rounds.

If you just want to bet him to win the event without the staggered leader board FansBet also offer Simpson to win without FedEx Cup Starting Strokes at 19.00*

*all odds are subject to change

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