The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola
East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia
East Lake has been the exclusive host of the TTC since 2004 and has decided the FEC champion since its inception in 2007.
The course will present multiple challenges as it is demanding off the tee and into the green plus Donald Ross green complexes are never qualified as “easy”. Since the redesign by Rees Jones for the 2008 event, the average winning score is around 10-under par. With only two par fives and only one par four under 400 yards, it’s hardly a surprise. The list of recent winners suggests any style works here but the winner will need to be on point from pegging it to pulling it out of the hole.
Similar to TPC Boston, course history will factor this week. The great equalizer this week will be the nines being flipped to force drama down the stretch. They had to do something as the last four winners have all ran away from the field and won by three or more shots. The remedy is finishing with a par five instead of a par three. All 18 holes will still have to be played four times so avoiding bogeys and grinding out pars will hardly be a bad plan.
Last Year Here
01 Jordan Spieth
02 Danny Lee 02 Henrik Stenson 02 Justin Rose
05 Paul Casey
05 Dusitn Johnson
05 Bubba Watson
08 JB Holmes
08 Zach Johnson
10 Jason Day
10 Matt Kuchar
12 Steven Bowditch
12 Daniel Berger
12 Rickie Fowler
12 Hideki Matsuyama
16 Rory McIlroy
16 Kevin Na
18 Brooks Koepka 18 Sangmoon Bae 18 Robert Streb
18 Jimmy Walker
22 Charley Hoffman 22 Harris English
22 Brandt Snedeker
25 Scott Piercy 26 Bill Haas
27 Patrick Reed
28 Kevin Kisner
WD Louis Oosthuizen DNS Jim Furyk
A few of those names should stand out for multiple reasons THIS year. Berger returns while some big boy names didn’t.
2015-16 Winners (at time of victory)
In 2014-15 there were 14 players in their 20’s who won tournaments. They accounted for a whopping 24 victories in 47 events.
Emiliano Grillo, 23; Frys.com
Smylie Kaufman, 23; Shriners
Justin Thomas, 22; CIMB
Peter Malnati, 28; SFC
Jordan Spieth, 22; HTOC, DEAN & DELUCA at Colonial
Hideki Matsuyama, 23; WMPO
Jason Day, 28; API, WGC-Dell Match Play, THE PLAYERS
Danny Willett, 28; Masters
Branden Grace, 27; RBC Heritage
Daniel Berger, 23; FESJC
Si Woo Kim, 21; Wyndham
Patrick Reed, 26; Barclays
Rory McIlroy, 27; DBC
The guys between 30-39 years of age produced 16 multiple champions in 17 events last season.
Russell Knox, 31; HSBC Champions, Travelers
Graeme McDowell, 36; OHL Mayakoba
Kevin Kisner, 31; RSM Classic
Fabian Gomez, 37; Sony Open
Jason Dufner, 38; CB Challenge
Brandt Snedeker, 35; Farmers Insurance Open
Vaughn Taylor, 39; AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Bubba Watson, 37; Northern Trust Open
Adam Scott, 35; Honda Classic, WGC-Cadillac Championship
Charl Schwartzel, 31; Valspar
Jim Herman, 38; Shell Houston Open
Charley Hoffman, 39; Valero Texas Open
Brian Stuard, 33; Zurich Classic
James Hahn, 34; Wells Fargo Championship
Sergio Garcia, 36; AT&T Byron Nelson
William McGirt, 36; Memorial
Dustin Johnson, 31; U.S. Open, WGC-BI, BMW
Billy Hurley, III, 34; Quicken Loans National
Aaron Baddeley, 35; Barbasol Championship
Jhonattan Vegas, 31; RBC Canadian Open
Jimmy Walker, 37; PGA Championship
Ryan Moore, 33; John Deere Classic
There were only four winners last season from 47 events (Furyk, Cejka, Love III and Harrington). Sentimentality and name recognition has no place in fantasy golf, folks.
Greg Chalmers, 42; Barracuda Championship
Henrik Stenson, 40; The Open Championship
Phil Mickelson is the only 40+ player in the field this week.
Last year the only rookie to pick up a first-place check was Canadian Nick Taylor. This season it took ONE EVENT to match that total.
Emiliano Grillo; Frys.com
Smylie Kaufman; Shriners
After winners in the first two events of the season, it’s been 43 straight events without one of the newbies collecting a trophy.
Let it be noted that Grillo has:
*Changed his pronunciation of his last name to Gree Low halfway through the year.
*Made the cut in all four majors.
*Finished T-2 in his first Playoff event.
Rookies in the FEC
Remember, 2014 was the only year a rookie has NOT found a spot in The Tour Championship. Here are your choices for this year:
No. 26 No. 34 No. 33
No. 32 No. 6 No. 8 No. 9
Patton Kizzire, No. 58 No. 72 No. 82
Harold Varner, III, No. 82 No. 87 No. 75
Brett Stegmaier, No. 101
Michael Kim, No. 115
My money is on Grillo as he’ll see three weeks in a row on Bentgrass and that won’t bother him as much as three weeks in a row on Bermuda. Kizzire and the rest will need something very special to make the leap into the top 30.
Ed. Note: Written before the first Playoff event.
Si Woo Kim was classified as a rookie on the eve of the BMW Championship. I guess we can add his victory at Wyndham to the rookie totals. I mean, why not?
Rookies, journeyman, up-and-comers, I’ll keep track of them all. It’s a life-changer.
2016: (16 and counting)
Emiliano Grillo (Frys.com)
Smylie Kaufman (Shriners)
Justin Thomas (CIMB)
Peter Malnati (SFC)
Russell Knox (WGC-HSBC Champions)
Kevin Kisner (RSM)
Tony Finau (PRO)
Jim Herman (SHO)
Danny Willett (Masters)
Branden Grace (RBC Heritage)
Brian Stuard (Zurich Classic)
William McGirt (Memorial)
Daniel Berger (FESJC)
Billy Hurley, III (QLN)
Greg Chalmers (Barracuda) in his 386th event!
Si Woo Kim (Wyndham)
Each week, when possible, I’ll try and reward those of you who take the time to read my columns with thoughts on a few players who didn’t make the cut, for whatever reason, in my preview column.
Most recent Playoff results in ( )
Paul Casey (T-2, 2nd)
Patrick Reed (Win, T-5, T-13)
Adam Scott (T-4, 4th, T-4)
Jason Day (T-4, T-15, WD)
Gary Woodland (T-4, T-15, T-24)
Ryan Moore (T-7, T-8, T-63)
Jordan Spieth (T-10, T-21, 9th)
Dustin Johnson (T-18, T-8, WIN)
All 30 players are evaluated in my preview: