The top 30 players in the FedEx Cup point standings will face off in the season-ending TOUR Championship, with the winner earning the FedEx Cup and a $15 million bonus. It has been contested at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta since 2005 and the defending champion is Dustin Johnson, who capped off a terrific end of the 2020 season with a three-shot victory, which was his second in the playoffs and followed a runner up finish to Jon Rahm in the BMW Championship.
The unique format has the leader in points, Patrick Cantlay who won last week’s BMW Championship in a six hole playoff, teeing off Thursday morning with a score of ten under par, followed by Tony Finau at eight under, last week’s runner up Bryson DeChambeau at seven under, Rahm at six under and Cameron Smith at five under par. Players in the next five spots in the standings will begin the event at four under par, the 11th through 15th spots another shot back, 16th to 20th at two under, 21st to 25th at one under, and the last five in the field beginning at even par.
East Lake is a par 70 layout, playing to 7,346 yards, and was a former home course for the legendary Atlanta native Bobby Jones. The course has been reworked over the years, first by Donald Ross and most recently by Rees Jones in a restoration project to take the course back to its original design as part of a larger development operation to bring golf back to that part of Atlanta.
McIlroy is the only player other than Tiger Woods to capture more than one FedEx Cup and he may be poised to add a third.
Obviously, players at the top of the standings have a big advantage, but last year Xander Schauffele shot 15 under par to cut four strokes off Johnson’s opening lead. Cantlay and Rahm are at the top of the odds list at +380, with DeChambeau at +500, Finau with odds of +650, and Justin Thomas, who starts at four under par, completes the top five at +1800.
Dustin Johnson will begin at three under par with Rory McIlroy a shot behind him, but both have odds of +2200. Jordan Spieth, who starts with a score of four under par, is at odds of +2600 to make up the four shots on Cantlay necessary to win his second FedEx Cup.
Underdog Betting Picks
In this tournament, anyone behind Finau in the odds has to be considered an underdog, with so many strokes that they have to make up on the leaders. McIlroy is the only player other than Tiger Woods to capture more than one FedEx Cup and he may be poised to add a third.
Defending champion Dustin Johnson broke out of what for him has been a prolonged slump last week, with his best finish since winning the Masters, tying for sixth place at 20 under par. Although he has to make up seven shots on Cantlay and five on Finau, the two-time major champion has shown the ability to go low.
Although Collin Morikawa has dropped all the way down to 11th in the standings with a missed cut and a tie for 63rd in the two prior playoff events, he is still a dangerous player who seems to have his best stuff in pressure situations. At odds of +3700 and beginning at three under par, the two time major winner is definitely worth having as one of a group of four or five picks.