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Picks and Preview: The Tour Championship

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The FedEx Cup Playoffs, the finale of the PGA Tour, heads back to East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga., which has been the home to the Tour Championship since 2004. The points have been rearranged, so mathematically every player in the 30-man field has a chance at the $10 million prize, but not likely.

“It’s all about being in top 5” said Tiger Woods, who leads the standings.  “Just ask Sneds.”

Brandt Snedeker held his own fate at the 2012 Tour Championship. He entered the event in fifth place in the standings, so a victory at East Lake meant both a Tour Championship victory and the playoff title, which is exactly what happened.

The top 5 players this year will have the same luxury–a Tour Championship win will mean a playoff victory. A spot in the top five doesn’t guarantee the title, however, as previous playoff winners Bill Haas and Jim Furyk won from the 25th and 11th spot, respectively. The tournament setup allows for players to make up ground if they catch fire.

East Lake is a par-70 that covers 7,154 yards, and it’s certainly not the toughest test the players see all year. It will be a pin-hunting shootout, following the trend of the previous three tournaments in the playoffs.

Catch the PGA Tour finale Thursday-Friday, 1-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 10 a.m.-noon (GC), noon-3:30 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (GC), 1:30-6 p.m. (NBC)

Now, let’s try to figure out who’s going to win, and who isn’t.

From the Top-5

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Tiger Woods: 5/1*

Unfortunately for Mr. Woods, this year will be remembered for rules infractions, missed putts, underwhelming major performances and the image ingrained in our minds of him collapsing at The Barclays with back spasms. With five wins this season, against stacked fields at The Players and WGC events, however, he’s regained his dominance in golf. He also has a history of retaining leads in big events fairly well.

If he can manage to oblige to USGA rulings, make a few more 4-footers for par and stay on two limbs, you can put this one in the win column for Tiger. He can finish 29th and still mathematically pull out the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

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Henrik Stenson: 16/1

He’s been crazy hot since The Open Championship where he finished second, tallying a third place finish at the PGA Championship and a win at the Deutsche Bank to align himself for a chance at the Cup. Despite a T33 that knocked him down a place in the standings last week, expect Stenson, who ranks fifth in driving accuracy and first in greens in regulation, to find himself somewhere in the mix on Sunday.

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Adam Scott: 12/1

He won the masters and broke the Aussie’s glass ceiling at Augusta, but he won’t win the FedEx Cup.  The leaderboard backed up allowing him to win at The Barclays by default, and his putting with his famous Scotty Cameron brookstick remains too much of a question mark.

Scott’s a classy competitor and proven champion, but his putter won’t hold up this week. I like him to crack the top 10 with solid play, but coming off a T28 last week (albeit with a Sunday 67), and a T53 at the Deutsche Bank, his recent form lead me to look elsewhere to find the playoff winner.

Zach Johnson of the United States tees o

Zach Johnson: 18/1

He pieced apart the field last week with his iron play and mid-range putting and has five top 10’s in his last six events, but he may be physically and emotionally drained from his win last week.

The victory put him in a great position, and back-to-back wins in the playoffs aren’t uncommon. Tiger, Rory, Vijay, Camilo all have repeated, but this week is different with the delay forcing the BMW Championship into Monday. Look for Johnson to start slow and fail to regain momentum on the weekend.

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Matt Kuchar: 20/1

Let’s get this out of the way: I don’t trust Kuchar in the big moments. He has six career PGA Tour wins, but he’s never won anything that makes me think he’s ready to win the Tour Championship and claim $10 million. He suffers from Snedeker Syndrome–everyone thinks he’s too soft in the big events–but we saw how that worked out in the 2012 FedEx Cup, so maybe I’ll eat my words come sundown on Sunday.

From outside the top 5:

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Phil Mickelson: 14/1

Other than a T6 at the Barclays, he’s finished outside the top 20 in every event since his groundbreaking Open Championship victory. However, if we’ve learned one thing about Phil over his career, it’s that he lives for the big moment. He’s a gambler at heart, and his eyes are probably flying saucers for the $10 million prize. He’s in the eighth spot and a win is no mathematical guarantee, but don’t sleep on Phil.

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Graham Delaet: 40/1

He grew out the playoff beard, and publically admitted he’s just happy to be in Atlanta. The laid back Canadian isn’t putting too much pressure on himself, and it’s a fact that avoiding razors during playoff season improves his chances (right?). If the beard doesn’t put fear into his playing competitors, he’s also tallied a T2 and third place finish already in the Playoffs. Look for him to sneak up on the leaderboard and have a chance on Sunday.

Jordan Spieth

(Sleeper pick) Jordan Spieth: 28/1

He’s managed 12 top 25’s in 22 starts this year, which means that Spieth is no average rookie. He’s also the youngest player to reach the Tour Championship since Tiger Woods in 1997. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Spieth win, and properly represent the new school of golf the way we wish Rickie Fowler would. He could also finish dead last, either one.

Bad bets

U.S. Open - Final Round

Steve Stricker: 20/1

He fell outside the top five in the standings by tying for fourth in disappointing fashion. These days, Stricker is semi-retired, playing a limited schedule and has bad case of the Kuchars. He’s a great putter, but something happens in the biggest moments. Look no further than the 2012 Ryder Cup. With a second place finish and a T4 already in the Playoffs, a top-10 finish this week is a sure bet, but Stricker and the trophy are going to be repelling forces come crunch time.

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Brandt Snedeker: 22/1

He’s back this year to defend his title, something no other FedEx Cup playoff champion can claim. Lingering injuries, a missed cut at the Barclays and a T47 at the Deutsche Bank show where his game is of late. A T8 last week solidified a chance at the Tour Championship, but his recent form leads me to believe a top-15 finish is about all we can expect.

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Jim Furyk: 18/1

Mr. 59 Jr. In typical Furyk fashion, he shot 59 but failed to win the tournament last week, costing him a chance at a top-5 position in the standings. That was so Furyk of him. He grinds harder than anyone on Tour, but somehow manages to miss putts or chunk chips at the least timely moments. He’s a workhorse and a newly inducted member of the 59 club, but he will not win his second FedEx cup.

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Dustin Johnson, Luke Donald, D.A. Points, Brendon de Jonge, Sergio Garcia and Roberto Castro: 25/1 (Garcia)

The happy-to-be-there crew. They have about the same odds of winning the playoffs as Harris English, who sits in 31st place in the standings watching the Tour Championship from his couch.

Even if one of these guys do win, I can’t see Tiger finishing outside the top 15, which is what they all need to happen. Dustin needs Tiger to finish 29th or worse in the 30-man field, which basically means that if Tiger completes four rounds this week, Dustin has no shot.

*Odds provided by Bovada

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. joro

    Sep 18, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Probably you know who.

  2. Nate

    Sep 18, 2013 at 8:55 am

    “The happy-to-be-there crew. They have about the same odds of winning the playoffs as Harris English, who sits in 31st place in the standings watching the Tour Championship from his couch.”

    This gave me a good chuckle

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Tour Photo Galleries

12 interesting photos from Tuesday at the PGA Championship

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black!

We have two general photo galleries, plenty of WITB galleries as well as some specialized galleries from Tuesday’s action at Bethpage Black for you to enjoy and you can find all the links below. Here are twelve interesting selections from those galleries for you to enjoy.

Another look at Callaway’s NYC-themed headcovers, (these in Jim Furyk’s bag)

Hideki Matsuyama’s new Scotty Cameron putter.

Rickie Fowler’s custom COBRA x Vessel Tour Staff Bag.

And the 30-year-old’s Puma Warning headcover for this week’s championship.

Luke List’s Axis 1 putter.

New Steelfiber “Black Label” shafts have been spotted at Bethpage Black.

A look inside Jon “Rahmbo” Rahm’s bag ahead of his effort to land his maiden major title.

A closer look at the “warning” sign on the TaylorMade staff bag

Jason Dufner’s Spider putter which according to one of our members, looks as if it’s “wearing a tuxedo”

Aldila’s new Rip X shaft.

Recent winner on the European Tour, Mikko Korohen, has this unique flat-stick in his bag in New York.

What’s on offer for spectators this week.

Check out all of Tuesday’s photos on our forums.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Tuesday’s photos from the 2019 PGA Championship

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GolfWRX is live from the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in Farmingdale, New York.

You can find links to all of our photos from Tuesday below.

Tuesday’s photos

Special galleries

WITB galleries

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Tour Photo Galleries

Monday’s photos from the 2019 PGA Championship

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GolfWRX is live from the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in Farmingdale, New York.

You can find links to all of our photos from a moist and overcast Monday below.

Special galleries

WITB photos

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