After nine months and 39 events, we have reached the final stop on tour with The TOUR Championship.
This week will decide the FedEx Cup Champion and the $10 million bonus that comes with it. A win by any of the players currently ranked in the Top 5 are guaranteed the FedEx Championship while players outside the Top 5 can still get it with a win and some help, but the chances are slim.
The TOUR Championship takes place at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta for the 13th time including the last 10. At 7,319 yards, East Lake is the second-longest Par 70 the touring pros see all year but bombing the ball won't necessarily get it done. Accuracy off the tee is a must as is putting. New greens were put in after the first year East Lake hosted the final stage of the FedEx Cup Playoffs and are significantly tougher.
This is a course where each hole needs to be thought out and played backwards in order to get the best shots into the green. That makes greens in regulation very important to set up birdie opportunities from the best situations. However, as mentioned, it is the putting that will trump that as Bill Haas, Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh - three of the past five champions at East Lake - led the field in putting.
The Top 5 this week consists of Woods, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar. A win by any of these players, no matter where the others finish, means a big payday of $10 million. The other 25 players in the field all can win but everything has to fall exactly into place for the majority of those so the winner likely will come from a player currently ranked in or close to the Top 10.
Woods (+450) is the big favorite this week and it’s hard to look past him. He is coming off a T11 at the BMW Championship last week, which pushed him back into the top spot in the FedEx Cup Standings. His recent history at the TOUR Championship shows he loves it at East Lake as he has finished T8, solo second, first, solo second and solo second in his last five starts here.
We used Hunter Mahan (+1,500) last week and he finished T4 as a second-round 73 did him in. As mentioned, he’s the only guy to play in every playoff event since its inception and has done well in Atlanta in the past. He finished T8 last year, following a runner up in 2011. He’s currently 15th in the FedEx Cup Standings, so he will need help to win it all but comes here in great form.
Jason Day (+1,800) has been on our list many times and, while he has not won, he has performed well for those doing place betting, including a T4 last week at the BMW Championship. Like Mahan, he will need help since he is sitting in 14th place in the FedEx Cup Standings. He didn't play here last year, but he finished T6 in 2011, just two shots out of the playoff.
Webb Simpson (+2,500) is 21st in the FedEx Cup Standings, so he is going to need a miracle for the $10 Million. But that doesn't mean he can't win here. He’s fallen off slightly the last two events after posting Top 15s in three of his previous four starts. He hasn’t won this year, but does have four Top 10s. Last year at East Lake, he posted a Sunday 66 to grab a share of fifth place.
You can't get better odds than with Graham DeLaet (+4,000) in comparison to his rank (seventh in the FedEx Cup Standings), so we will back the Canadian once again. He opened the playoffs with a T2 at the Barclays and a solo third at the Deutsche Bank Championship before stumbling with a T28 at Conway Farms last week. Still, a win here in his first start at East Lake could give him the overall championship.
Recommended tournament win five pack at the TOUR Championship – all for 1 unit
Tiger Woods (+450)
Hunter Mahan (+1,500)
Jason Day (+1,800)
Webb Simpson (+2,500)
Graham DeLaet (+4,000)
2012 Record to date after 36 events: +51.6 Units
2013 Record to date after 34 events: -55.4 Units