After a season that began amid strict Covid-19 protocols and plagued by numerous withdrawals due to the virus, including by a player leading by four shots after three rounds of a tournament, the 2020-2021 campaign comes to an end this week at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. The top 30 players, or maybe 29 if Patrick Reed can’t compete in the FedEx Cup, point standings will be on hand with the winner walking away with a $15 million bonus.
The tournament has a unique format which is being used for the third year in a row, with the winner of the event awarded the FedEx Cup. Patrick Cantlay, following his win at the BMW Championship in a six-hole playoff over Bryson DeChambeau, is the leader in the point standings and will start the Tour Championship with a score of ten under par.
Tony Finau is second in the standings and will start at eight under par, followed by DeChambeau at seven under, Jon Rahm at six under, and Cam Smith beginning at five under. Players sixth through tenth in the standings will begin at four under par, 11th through 15th at three-under, 16th through 20th at two under par, 21st to 25th at one under pare, and the remaining entries at even.
East Lake has been the site of the Tour Championship since 2007, and the 7,346-yard layout plays to a par 70. Dustin Johnson is the defending champion, winning the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup during a great run of golf that culminated with a victory in November in the delayed 2020 Masters Tournament that gave him his second major title.
Cantlay…gets to start with a two-shot edge on the field after a momentum-building victory last week, when it appeared DeChambeau already had the tournament in hand.
Considering that the players at the top of the FedEx Cup point standings begin the tournament with significant scoring advantages, it’s not surprising to find Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm as co-favorites with odds of +380. DeChambeau follows at +500 with Finau next at +650, and Justin Thomas, who will start with a score of four under par, has odds of +1800.
Defending champion Johnson will start seven shots behind at three under par and shares the same +2200 odds with Rory McIlroy, who jumped from 28th to 16th in the standings last week and will open play at two under par. Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka is 20th in points and will also start at two-under with odds of +5000.
Making up more than five or six shots over the course of 72 holes can be difficult, especially on players that are having recent success. Cantlay shouldn’t be counted out, and he gets to start with a two-shot edge on the field after a momentum-building victory last week when it appeared DeChambeau already had the tournament in hand.
After four months of spotty play, DeChambeau seemed to put his game together again last week, shooting a 60 on Friday but was unable to put the tournament away. His length is still an advantage, and he’ll be motivated to defeat Cantlay after failing to do so in the BMW Championship.
The best player all year long, even though he has only one win to show for it, has been Jon Rahm, and he only has four shots to make up on a course that can yield some low scores.