30 are still standing as the Tour heads to East Lake for the FedEx Cup Finale. At this week’s Tour Championship, all 30 players have a mathematical shot at the FedEx Cup prize of $10 million, but only the top 5 in the rankings control their own destiny. With a win, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Patrick Reed, Paul Casey and Adam Scott are assured to walk away with the big check, while the other 25 players will need a win and some help. While the winner of the FedEx Cup will walk away with a life-changing check, just making it to the Tour Championship lands a big payday. The player who finishes last in the Tour Championship and 30th in the FedEx Cup will leave East Lake with $136,000 in earnings from the event and a $175,000 bonus from the FedEx Cup...is it too late for me to sign up?
Ryder Cup decisions
Outside of the chase for the $10 million, the other big storyline to watch is the performance of a few Ryder Cup potentials. Captain Davis Love III has 1 spot remaining, and it looks like the race for that spot is between Bubba Watson, Daniel Berger and Justin Thomas with the front-runner being world number 7, Watson. Personally, I feel like the spot is Watson’s to lose and the only way Love will give the nod to the youngsters Berger and Thomas is if they win this week or if Bubba has some sort of a meltdown...something that is not out of the realm of possibility. I guess the thing I am most happy about is that Ace Hardware hype man Hunter Mahan will not be representing the stars and stripes next week.
This week’s Tour Championship will be held at Atlanta’s Donald Ross gem, East Lake Golf Club. East Lake is typically one of the PGA Tour’s toughest stops with its stout 7,348 yard, par 70 layout. What makes East Lake so difficult are two of Ross’ most prominent design traits. It requires players to move the ball both right to left and left to right off the tee and has a tough set of greens to boot. Look for the winner to drive it well this week and get up and down around the greens a lot.
This year, in an effort to spice things up, the PGA Tour has made the decision to switch the 9’s with the traditionally tough par 3 18th now serving as the 9th hole. The goal is to have more birdies on 18, leading to more buzz in crowds and TV telecast.
With the small field at this week’s Tour Championship, selecting a good fantasy roster comes down to differentiation and birdies. Check out who Paulie likes here.
Running out of time...
While the PGA Tour is playing for $10 million, the Web.com Tour Finals rolls on in Columbus for the Nationwide Children’s Championship. This week marks the 3rd event of 4 in the Web.com Tour Finals where the top 25 on the money list over the 4 events will earn their PGA Tour cards for the 2016-17 season. I am on the scene in Columbus, check out the full preview here.