It all comes down to this. After a thrilling victory between the top two players in the world last week, Jon Rahm edged out World No. 1 Dustin Johnson in playoff golf to set us up for what should be a very exciting Tour Championship. It’s been a crazy year on the PGA Tour and it all wraps up this weekend.
Yes, there are two majors still to be played this fall but the PGA Tour will hold its final event for the 2020 calendar this weekend. Just 30 golfers will make the trip to Atlanta and among those who just missed the cut were Patrick Cantlay, Matthew Wolff and Adam Scott. However, there will be plenty of firepower competing this weekend and we are here to break it down.
The first thing to know is that this tournament at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta will be a staggered stroke format. What that essentially means is that the top player (Dustin Johnson) will begin the weekend with an under-10 listed on his scorecard. No. 2 (Jon Rahm) will begin at 8-under with that number slowly leveling off with golfers No. 26 through 30 starting at even par.
Therefore, it is going to be very, very hard for some golfers in the field to win the event. As a matter of fact, nearly half of the golfers are almost mathematically eliminated before things tee off on Thursday. However, that is the reward for the players at the top of the FedEx Cup standings.
The main thing that separates this tournament from every other one you see throughout the PGA Tour calendar is the large money available for only 30 players. The $45 million dollars awaiting the participants has a lot of people very excited and provides plenty of motivation for golfers to end the season.
The winner will bring home $15 million while 30th place would cash $395K. That’s a pretty substantial payday for young players such as Mackenzie Hughes, Lanto Griffin, Scottie Scheffler and Joaquin Niemann. At the top, it’s large enough for all of the big dogs to be gunning for it hard.
We should get some quality golf at East Lake.
East Lake is a private golf course just located outside of Downtown Atlanta and has been around for over 100 years. The home course for historic golfer Bobby Jones has hosted the Tour Championship since 2004 and has seen both Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy crowned champions the last two years. Thanks to the history, we have a solid amount of data on golfers and how they’ve performed at this venue.
Best scoring average at East Lake last 10 years; minimum 12 rounds played:
Schauffele – 67.75 (in field)
Horschel – 67.83 (in field)
Casey – 68.42
McIlroy – 68.42 (in field)
Ryan Moore – 68.42
Thomas – 68.50 (in field)
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) September 1, 2020
Justin Thomas obviously catches everyone’s eye as he starts the tournament just three shots back of Dustin Johnson, but Xander Schauffele is someone to keep an eye on. The No. 11 player in the World Golf Rankings is an elite ball striker as he ranks seventh in strokes gained tee-to-green and can do some real damage if that putter gets hot.
Riding on those recent performances at East Lake, we are going to pick Justin Thomas to win just a week after swinging and missing on a top-10 bet with him last week. Thomas sits at third in the FedEx Cup standings and hasn’t posted a top-20 finish since winning in thrilling fashion in Memphis. Take the +500 and let it ride.
When it comes to top ten, we’re rolling with Schauffele for the reasons above. This is a course that suits his game well and he usually puts together multiple solid rounds at East Lake. MGM has it going off the board at -167 and we’ll pay the juice to get the winning ticket.