Tour Championship Preview: Who will win the FedEx Cup?

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By: Patrick Donnelly

The top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings roll into East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, with everyone aiming to win not only the TOUR Championship, but the FedEx Cup and the $10 million prize money that comes with it.

The top five players in the FedEx Cup standings will control their own destiny as a win at the tournament guarantees them the FedEx Cup. As for the rest of the field, they will need strong performances from themselves as well as a little help from others to give them a shot at winning the FedEx Cup.

Here are the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings:

  1. Bryson DeChambeau
  2. Justin Rose
  3. Tony Finau
  4. Dustin Johnson
  5. Justin Thomas
  6. Keegan Bradley
  7. Brooks Koepka
  8. Bubba Watson
  9. Billy Horschel
  10. Cameron Smith
  11. Webb Simpson
  12. Jason Day
  13. Francesco Molinari
  14. Phil Mickelson
  15. Patrick Reed
  16. Patrick Cantlay
  17. Rory McIlroy
  18. Xander Schauffele
  19. Tommy Fleetwood
  20. Tiger Woods
  21. Aaron Wise
  22. Kevin Na
  23. Rickie Fowler
  24. Jon Rahm
  25. Kyle Stanley
  26. Paul Casey
  27. Hideki Matsuyama
  28. Gary Woodland
  29. Marc Leishman
  30. Patton Kizzire

Clearly, there is a ton of talent and big names entering East Lake this weekend. The course has annually hosted the TOUR Championship since 2004 and is a classic challenge to close out the season.

Playing at 7,385 yards, East Lake is a par 70 course with long par 4s and plenty of hazards. The golfers will have to play at their best since there aren’t as many scoring opportunities as there would be on a par 72 course (only two par 5s, opposed to four). As mentioned, a win for anyone in the top five guarantees them the FedEx Cup. However, things aren’t as simple for the rest of the field.

Favorites:

The clear favorites entering this week are the top-five players. Justin Rose is coming into this week after second place finishes in the last two legs of the playoffs and rising to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Bryson DeChambeau has been one of the best performers on tour this season, finishing in the top-25 in 21 of the 25 events he has played in and winning three times (two of which were in dominant fashion at the first two legs of the playoffs).

Tony Finau has been arguably the most consistent player this season; he just hasn’t won anything this year. Finau has finished in second three times, in the top-10 eleven times, in the top-25 eighteen times, and has made 24 out of 27 cuts this season.

As for Dustin Johnson, it seemed like he could win on-demand at one point this season, winning three tournaments in no time. Johnson has eleven top-10’s and 16 top-25 finishes, making the cut in 18 of 19 events he’s played in. However, Johnson has only one top-10 since July and is dealing with a bit of controversy off of the course with his fiancee, Paulina Gretzky.

Lastly, Justin Thomas, who has had arguably the best year-and-a-half as far as his performance goes, is looking to repeat as FedEx Cup Champion and to rise to World No. 1.

Sleepers:

Last year’s rookie of the year, Xander Schauffele is looking for a repeat victory at the TOUR Championship, but he will need help from the rest of his field to claim the FedEx Cup if he wins at East Lake this weekend.

Billy Horschel has played a great stretch of golf lately. Ranked ninth in the standings, Horschel knows what it takes to prevail in the season finale, having won the FedEx Cup in 2014.

Brooks Koepka has been one of the most electrifying players on tour this season, repeating as U.S. Open champion and holding off a surging Tiger Woods to win the PGA Championship. Like Thomas, Koepka is chasing No. 1 in the world as well.

Speaking of Tiger, no one can ever count this man out of anything. His comeback this year has been nothing short of electric, having come close to winning again at the Open Championship and the PGA Championship, in addition to shooting a thrilling 62 in the first round of the BMW Championship two weeks ago.

Woods has won the FedEx Cup twice before in 2007 and 2009, but will need a win this weekend and a big assist from the rest of the field if he wants to clinch the ultimate prize of the season outside of the four majors.

Rory McIlroy can’t be counted out either. Like Tiger, Rory’s A-game may be the best on the planet. Having won the TOUR Championship and FedEx Cup in exciting fashion in 2016, McIlroy has the experience and skill needed to turn heads this weekend.

 

 

Author: Patrick Donnelly

Patrick is a freshman studying journalism at Boston University’s College of Communication. A graduate of Malden Catholic High School (’18). Patrick is a huge Boston sports fan and avid golfer, his favorite teams and athletes include, the Boston Bruins, the New England Patriots, Rory McIlroy, and Tiger Woods. Co-host of the podcast, Beantown Banter, at WTBU Sports. Covers the PGA and Boston Bruins in columns for WTBU Sports. Formerly co-hosted podcasts and wrote for the blogs, 617 Sportsnet, Beantown Sportshub, and Game Time Sports Network. He aims to one day be a sports-talk radio host in Boston. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @PatDonn12.

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