Dan Box
By Dan Box

World Number One Scottie Scheffler heads into this week as the leader of the FedEx Cup Rankings and with that, he starts with a two stroke lead at East Lake.

Given all of the American's fantastic play this season, he has somehow only won twice so far, mostly due to the fact that his putter continues to plague him.

After the disappointment of last year's Tour Championship, can Scheffler go one better this time around and pick up a long overdue third win of the season that his play (besides his putting) has deserved?

Whilst the major season has now passed there is still plenty on the line for the 30 qualifiers, including last-minute spots on Ryder Cup teams and shedloads of prize money that even the LIV golfers would be impressed with.

Last Year

Rory McIlroy became the first person to win the FedEx Cup three times in stunning fashion last year, despite starting six strokes behind Scottie Scheffler at the beginning of the week and when heading into the final round.

McIlroy's closing 66 was enough to leapfrog Scheffler, who had won four times that season, thanks to the American's poor start to the final round. Sungjae Im was also well in contention until he made a double bogey on the 14th hole, eventually finishing in a tie for second along with Scheffler.

Xander Schauffele finished in fourth place, with fellow Americans Justin Thomas and Max Homa sharing a tie for fifth.

The Course

East Lake GC is a 7,346 par 70 layout in Atlanta, Georgia which has played permanent host to this event since 2004. The home of legendary golfer Bobby Jones, East Lake is tight and tree-lined with greens that could reach up to 13 on the Stimpmeter, meaning that it provides a full test of a golfer's game.

There are two straightforward par 5s but the tricky par 3s must be respected, whilst there is water in play on a number of holes as the name suggests.

The fact that some golfers start under par does skew the winning totals a little compared to in the first few years of this event, but the overall scoring last year was better than usual thanks to the rain that fell, which gave the players preferred lies in the first two rounds and softer conditions.

With high temperatures and dry conditions forecast for this week, expect the course to play firmer and faster this time around, with less generous scoring.

The course is scheduled to undergo renovation following the conclusion of this event, so next year's Tour Championship may see a slightly different looking course which will be based upon an aerial photograph of the course from 1949, with the aim being to return the golf course 'to it's roots'.

The Field

The top 30 players in the FedEx Cup rankings are set to tee it up this week, in the final event of the season with huge prize money up for grabs.

Like last year, the winner will get a whopping $18 million, with the runner up receiving $6.5 million and third place taking home $5 million. Unbelievably, last place in this week's tournament will receive $500,000.

The event will once again feature a staggered start, with FedEx Cup points leader Scottie Scheffler starting at 10 under par, right the way down to 30th on the list, Sepp Straka, who starts at level par.

You can see the full breakdown of the Starting Strokes here...

This week also offers golfers a last opportunity to stake their claim for Ryder Cup qualification, with wildcard picks set to be made by captains Luke Donald and Zach Johnson once the FedEx Cup playoffs are wrapped up.

On the US side, the likes of Collin Morikawa and Rickie Fowler will be hoping for another solid week to ensure their place, whilst Justin Thomas has an anxious wait as he failed to qualify for this or last week's event.

Ryder Cup hopefuls - a number of players who missed out on automatic qualification and will be relying on a captain's pick - one more good week here could make all the difference to their cause.

For the Europeans, Sepp Straka is probably the only question mark and although he did scrape in to the Tour Championship in last place, a good week here could be enough to see him on the plane to Rome for his first Ryder Cup appearance.

Golfalot Tips

These are our tips for lowest gross total this week, rather than finishing position with Starting Strokes.

Patrick Cantlay @ 14/1

Cantlay has become a bit of a FedEx Cup Playoff specialist over the last few years, with three wins (including the FedEx Cup in 2021) and narrowly lost out in a playoff two weeks ago at the St Jude.

His form around that has been solid too, including a top 15 last week, and has a good record at East Lake over the last few seasons.

Sungjae Im @ 25/1

Im starts the week at 2 under which means he'll have his work cut out if he wants to catch Scheffler at the top of the leaderboard, but that may give him the motivation he needs to play positively and make lots of birdies.

This is Im's fifth straight appearance at the Tour Championship, confirmed thanks to Top 10 finishes in his last two starts, and last year he finished in a tie for second.


Facebook Comments