East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta GA
Thirty survivors of the FedEx Cup playoffs are gathered this week at historic East Lake Golf Club for the Tour Championship. The winner will receive $15 million while the last place finisher will have to make do with $395,000. East Lake was first designed by Tom Bendelow in 1908 but was re-designed by Donald Ross five years later. The course underwent renovations by George Cobb in 1959 and Rees Jones in ‘95 and 2008. Jones came back a few years ago to reinstate most of Ross’ original design features. East Lake is most famously known for being the home course of Bobby Jones during a time when he was considered the best golfer in the world.
Patrick Cantlay, on the strength of his epic win over unvaccinated Bryson DeChambeau, will sport a -10 head start followed by Tony Finau (-8), DeChambeau (-7), Jon Rahm (-6) and Cam Smith (-5). The next grouping which will start at -4 includes Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Harris English, Abraham Ancer and Sam Burns. It will be difficult – but not unheard of – to win the Tour Championship from a position south of these 10 players. Those who may have a chance include DJ, Collin Morikawa and Sungjae Im, who will all start at -3.
Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele are two players who have great records at East Lake but at -2 will require a Herculean effort to win. They are, however, good bets to post a top-5.
The golf course is not overly long and places a premium on accuracy off the tee, solid approach shots and skill on the fast Bermuda greens. If you factor in the players who have had sustained success on Donald Ross creations, you get a list that includes Im, Morikawa, McIlroy, Viktor Hovland and Rahm among the best bets this week.
Who should win? – Jon Rahm
Rahm has been a bit off his game the past couple of weeks and he still contends. This course plays to his strengths and the FedEx Cup is in his crosshairs.
Who will win?– Jon Rahm
Of the three players starting ahead of him this week, only Finau should prove to give Rahm a game. Cantlay cannot possibly putt the way he did last week and he is not known to be strong on bermuda greens. DeChambeau will not be able to overpower East Lake and his distance control and short game are suspect.
Best top 5 picks – Sungjae Im, Xander Schauffele, Sam Burns, Dustin Johnson
2 thoughts on “Tour Championship”
I, for one, appreciate that of all the adjectives that could be applied to DeChambeau — particularly in just the last four days — you chose “unvaccinated”. Restrained and yet all-telling. Thank you for getting us set up for a super end to the ‘21 season!
Thanks Kent. I had originally included the adjective “punk” but thought better of it:)