Preview: 2021 TOUR Championship

Starting Scoring returns for year 3.

Somebody gonna win $15 million!

Patrick Cantlay leads the field of 30 at 10-under.

FedExCup Playoffs

Final Event

TOUR Championship

East Lake Golf Club

Atlanta

Yards (per official scorecard):7,346
Par:70 (35-35)
Greens:Mini-Verde Ultradwarf Bermuda; 6,100 square feet.
Stimpmeter:13′.
Rough:Bermuda at 2.5 inches and growing.
Bunkers/Water74/5 (water in play on four holes).
Architects:Tom Bendelow (1904); Donald Ross (1913); Rees Jones (2016).
Purse:See attachment in Horses for Courses linked below for payouts.
Defending Champion (event):Dustin Johnson
Defending “Champion” (course):Xander Schauffele – Low Gross 2020
Fact of the Week:Third year for Starting Strokes; no more multiple “winners”.
Fact of the Week II:No player has ever defended a FedExCup Playoff event.

Notes:

  • 30 players eligible
  • 72 holes, no cut
  • Starting Strokes (see Horses for Courses below) plus 72 holes of scorecard will determine the champion of the FedExCup Playoffs.

2020-21 Winners

** – first time winner on TOUR

EventWinner
Safeway OpenStewart Cink
120th United States OpenBryson DeChambeau
Corales Punta Cana ChampionshipHudson Swafford
Sanderson Farms ChampionshipSergio Garcia
Shriners Hospitals for ChildrenMartin Laird (playoff)
CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEKJason Kokrak**
ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIPPatrick Cantlay
Bermuda ChampionshipBrian Gay
Vivint Houston OpenCarlos Oritz**
84th Masters TournamentDustin Johnson
The RSM ClassicRobert Streb
Mayakoba Golf ClassicViktor Hovland**
Sentry TOCHarris English
Sony Open in HawaiiKevin Na
The American ExpressSi Woo Kim
Farmers Insurance OpenPatrick Reed
Waste Management Phoenix OpenBrooks Koepka
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmDaniel Berger
The Genesis InvitationalMax Homa
WGC – Championship at The ConcessionCollin Morikawa
Arnold Palmer InvitationalBryson DeChambeau (2)
THE PLAYERS ChampionshipJustin Thomas
The Honda ClassicMatt Jones
WGC- Match PlayBilly Horschel
Corales PuntacanaJoel Dahmen**
Valero Texas OpenJordan Spieth
85th Masters TournamentHideki Matsuyama
RBC HeritageStewart Cink (2)
Zurich Classic of New OrleansCameron Smith/Marc Leishman
Valspar ChampionshipSam Burns**
Wells Fargo ChampionshipRory McIlroy
AT&T Byron NelsonKH Lee**
103rd PGA ChampionshipPhil Mickelson
Charles Schwab ChallengeJason Kokrak (2)
Memorial TournamentPatrick Cantlay (2)
Palmetto Championship (Congaree)Garrick Higgo**
121st US OpenJon Rahm
Travelers ChampionshipHarris English (2)
Rocket Mortgage ClassicCam Davis**
John Deere ClassicLucas Glover
149th Open ChampionshipCollin Morikawa (2)
Barbasol ChampionshipSeamus Power**
3M OpenCameron Champ
2020 Tokyo OlympicsXander Schauffele
Barracuda ChampionshipErik van Rooyen
WGC- FedEx St Jude InvitationalAbraham Ancer
Wyndham ChampionshipKevin Kisner
THE NORTHERN TRUSTTony Finau
BMW ChampionshipPatrick Cantlay (3)

Facts and Figures:

Course Record: Pre Bermuda (up to 2007)60; Zach Johnson 2007.  
Course Record: Bermuda (2008 to now)63; Four players (none entered this week); Henrik Stenson (last) 2015.
Tournament Record (gross):Xander Schauffele, 265, 2020.
Recent Defending Champion(s):N/A.
Multiple Winners – EventRory McIlroy (2019, 2016).
Multiple Winners – CourseRory McIlroy (2019, 2016).
First Time TOUR:Camilo Villegas, 2008 BMW Championship.
First Time EVENT:Xander Schauffele, 2017.
Odd Fact:Dustin Johnson became the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win from pole position in the final event.
Odd Fact II:Rory McIlroy is the only multiple FedExCup Playoff champion in this year’s event.

Quick Thoughts

Third year running for Starting Strokes!

Better read Horses for Courses to get caught up on that angle!

East Lake is right in front of you, Donald Ross golf.

Plenty of stick needed to get around.

Playing from the Bermuda rough, which is wet and nesty, will make short games stand up and be counted.

Strike the ball well this week and convert when you can.

Miss fairways and greens and grind out pars.

Easiest two holes on the track are both of the Par-5 holes.

Greens are always pure and can get sliccccccck.

Ryder Cup Captain Steve Stricker will have SIX picks to make after this weekend so it’s the last time to show out against a big dawg field.

Last place cashes almost $400k so nobody is worried about money this week.

And nobody is worried about Starting Strokes.

Dustin Johnson was 13 over in 2019 and 11-under (gross) in 2020.

If you get it off line here, you can struggle.

Let’s get after it after we recap last week first:

Last Week – FedExCup Playoffs Event No. 2

BMW Championship

Thoughts on the Chalk:

Jon Rahm (+650): He’s in the form of his life and is pegging top 10 paydays for fun. The style of track, the field, the conditions, life, hurricanes, NOTHING is bothering him right now. Opened 64-66 but cooled 70-70 on the weekend but another Top 10 (T9).

Xander Schauffele (+2000): I thought his number was odd last week at 22-1 so his T16 brings him as second choice this week? His 62 in Round 2 was the highlight but his Par-5 scoring and ball-striking numbers get more attention this week. Tuning before his favorite track next week in Atlanta! Like Rahm, he hit it all over the shop last week. Unlike Rahm he cashed T49 and has cooled significantly since picking up his gold medal.

Collin Morikawa (+2000): Let me know if his back deal is still bugging him! In a vacuum, this sets up perfectly for him as he won’t be behind on the greens. At worst, four rounds will allow him to work it out and put himself in position for a charge at East Lake next week. The only good news here is he completed all four rounds and his last two were his best two. T63 of 69 players.

Jordan Spieth (+2000): There were 75 players who made the cut last week. He was T74 in Fairways and T74 GIR. Oh, and he posted a 62. Hahahaha. It has to be better this week, no?? T34 thanks to a Sunday 66, his only round of the week in the 60s on a course where all 69 players broke par collectively for the week. His putter saved him again as he was T68 Fairways and T60 GIR.

Justin Thomas (+2000): The new putter bump had to feel good and sometimes that’s all it takes. He’s annually a summer player so I’m hoping this is the point his game pops. 25 birdies and 1 eagle suggest the lid is ready to come off. Win ticket. Tried to catch him on the up. Dropped. T22.

Bryson DeChambeau (+2000): Big park, plenty of room to swing it. Kinda reminds you a little of MVGC where he’s raked in the past. I can see it. Top 10.  P2 and should have won three times. Cashed.

Dustin Johnson (+2200): Wonderfully inconsistent in his last four (MC x 2; Top 10 x 2) but his record on neutral courses over the years is quite something. Blazed home 65-66 but his T6 on 20-under left him SEVEN shots out of the playoff hahahaha.

Cameron Smith (+2200): One bad swing, man. Before that he only squared two bogeys and two doubles against 26 birdies. I’ll just put him down for a top 10 and not sweat. Destroys Par-5 holes too. T34 as Mullet Mania cooled for the week. Loss.

Patrick Cantlay (+2500): I’m going right back after T11 last week. Bentgrass lover. WINNER. BOOM.

Brooks Koepka (+2500): I mean, that number, it’s enormous for him. Trying to stay away. T22 and never a threat.

Rory McIlroy (+2500): No injury to make me think twice. I’m just not sure what’s going on here. He loves Quail Hollow so I think JUST MAYBE up and down the hills of Caves Valley will spark him. Sparked indeed. Solo fourth with rounds of 64 and 65 on the card. Loves a Fazio design!

Tony Finau (+2800): I’d bring a lawn chair, a cooler and put my feet up on 18 green all week drinking champagne and waving to my fellow pros and they came home. Thumbs probably still hurting from answering all the texts from Monday. Low round of the week with 63 as he looks to carry that momentum, plus the TNT win, to East Lake this week.

Louis Oosthuizen (+2800): T18 or better in 10038082 in a row and now he’s non-injury rested??? I mean, what’s the deterrent? The deterrent was learned Wednesday afternoon that he skipped the pro-am with a neck deal. Rallied to close 64-69 but T38 didn’t help anybody in any format.

Thoughts on Next Wave – 30 to 1 or worse

Scottie Scheffler (+3300): If I was down last week, I’m not sure four rounds in the red are throwing me off the scent THIS week. He’ll have zero issues with a big track like this. Opened with 73 and never caught back up. Closed 66-68-67 for T22.

Viktor Hovland (+3500): No top 10s in his last three after winning in Munich. Fatigue? T17 will all rounds 70 or better.

Daniel Berger (+3500): T56 last week but three top 10s in his last five. If he’s going to kick in the back door of the Ryder Cup, he might have to invoke the Billy Horschel Rule: Win the BMW and Win East Lake. Step 1 is this week. T26.

Paul Casey (+3500): He’ll need a big finish this week to push into the top 30 as he sits No. 54 currently. Should be on the Ryder Cup team so I’m not going to be shocked if he mails this one in. T38 and a book of stamps.

Webb Simpson (+4000): Didn’t get the Wyndham Bounce last week so I’m not sure why we’d find it this week. Shocking putting last week on a course where he pegged T18 or better three times. Closed 66-66 for T12. Of course.

Abraham Ancer (+4000): He’ll bounce back this week, Top 10 and Top 20. Back to work. Began the final round four back. Shot 71 and hung on for dear life for T9. Two cashes.

Corey Conners (+4000): T8 last week and he didn’t make anything. Keep those ball-striking numbers going and I think we’ll see a repeat performance. Top 10 and Top 20. T22 and I give it back.

Harris English (+4000): My OAD last week. My bad. Normal service should resume. 65 to close for T26.

Hideki Matsuyama (+4000): Nobody loved Tom Fazio more than this guy in the spring as he won the Masters. Went close at the Olympics. Went close in the playoff in Memphis. Made 24 birdies last week and put all 4 round in the red but suffered 3 doubles and a triple. He’s close. Nibble win ticket. Damp Fart. Loss.

The Rest:

Shane Lowry (+4500): Top 20 and cash away. Of his last six he’s put four in the top 12. T26 sigh. L.

Sam Burns (+5000): Should have won in Memphis. Makes plenty of birdies so that should help. Top 10 and Top 20. Solo 8th helps the bank.

Joaquin Niemann (+5000): Loves a bit of Memorial so let’s see if that translates this week. T29

Sungjae Im (+5500): Trending T46-T24-T16 the last three weeks. Birdie machine for a top 20. Solo 3rd. Should have dreamed a better dream.

Kevin Na (+6600): T23 or better in his last four buries the lede that he’s racked out three of those four in the top 10. Play the heat. Top 10 and Top 20. Or fade the shit out of him because the course is big and bad. Nobody said this is easy! T17 for those who dared.

Jason Kokrak (+7500): Popped at Shadow Creek but he was one of the few, if any, who had played that course a bunch. Careful. T15 with a round OVER par! Fazio Forever!

Cameron Tringale (+8000): Just play him for a top 30 every week and enjoy your monies. T52. Glad that’s over.

Cameron Champ (+10000): Parlay anyone named Cameron for a T30 or better finish. Might get the best of the bunch here. Or dead last. Whiffed.

Erik van Rooyen (+10000): New baby bounce has brought a win and final threesome last week. One bad hole kept him from touching distance in New Jersey. Hot. Solo 5th. I’d say he’s quite hot.

Maverick McNealy (+11000): Last seven all T30 or better. Roll on. T63.

Cam Davis (+12500): Lots of yards and lots of Par-5 holes = yes, please. Did not work out. T29.

Keith Mitchell (+12500): T8-T55-T5 last three on TOUR. Now is T8-T55-T5-T57.

Harry Higgs (+20000): There’s always ONE guy, isn’t there? Top 10. Try T38.

KH Lee (+25000): No cut this week, got it, but he’s cashed four straight. Not bad for those odds! Bogey at the last kept him out of the top 10 and East Lake! Brutal! Every shot counts!

This Week – FedExCup Playoffs Final

TOUR Championship

Top 4 on the Leader Board

Patrick Cantlay (-10; +350): Gained the most strokes ever putting in the Shot Link era (14 and change). Holed over 550 feet of putts as well. Now do it on Bermuda. History here is skint.

Jon Rahm (-6; +350): Running a hot streak is nothing new here and he’s on one now. Hard to fade. Posted 3 rounds of 66 or better here last year in his best finish yet.

Bryson DeChambeau (-7; +500): Snapped after his round. Didn’t hole anything during it. This track hasn’t translated to his strengths. Pass.

Tony Finau (-8;+700): Now that conversation is over, time to take it to the next level. Zero pressure. Zero expectations. Freedom. I love it. And his 63 to close last week shows he’s not mailing anything in. Playing.

Rest of the Bunch

Justin Thomas (-4; +1800): If you’re going to chase this week, I’d go with guys who have done the business around here. Sure, he hasn’t won the golf tournament but he’s also never finished outside T7 in five shots.

Dustin Johnson (-3; +2200): History doesn’t help here but I’ll point out he won the Playoffs, not the event, last year. His solo third was his best and he was on fire last summer. He’s not on fire now but he’s rarely the afterthought. I don’t see why he’s not in the top five at the end of the week.

Cameron Smith (-5; +2500): His eight rounds here are Even par so he’ll have to find another gear to run up the board. Last time on Bermuda T5 Memphis.

Rory McIlroy (-2; +2500): I can’t look away. Not at 25-1 and not with his previous successes here. Feels like a sucker pin but we’re going flag hunting after solo fourth last week. Win ticket.

Jordan Spieth (-4; +2800): The last two weeks have been BAD tee to green. Like REALLY bad. First visit since 2017 but from all accounts he’s already on the Ryder Cup team. Not for me.

Abraham Ancer (-4; +3000): Third time is the charm here. Too good throughout the bag to fade. Big bounce back last week suggests he’s not done yet.

Xander Schauffele (-2; +3300): Nobody questions his course form but his current form might be up for discussion. Quiet before gold and quiet after. Cool ball-striking will need to heat up quickly.

Harris English (-4; +3500): Here’s the value play. Last five rounds here are par or better with four in the 60s and his season has been incredible. Not sure they’ll be running after him with microphones before or after each round.

Sam Burns (-4; +3500): Lovely run of form with 8th-T21-P2. First timers here aren’t an automatic ignore either. Prefer him when a shit load of birdies are needed.

Collin Morikawa (-3; +4000): Back deal bothered him after the Olympics and I haven’t seen anything that suggests it’s gone. Rolls in T63-MC. Pass.

Viktor Hovland (-3; +4000):         Led the field in GIR here last year but was T20. More than one trick needed this week.

Sungjae Im (-3; +4500): Fantastic week (Solo 3rd) in Maryland as he pegged Fairways and rolled in plenty of putts. Third trip here should have it all figured out. Buying.

Louis Oosthuizen (-3; +4500): I don’t do lingering neck deals.

Brooks Koepka (-2; +5000): I mean. Bryson got A LOT of attention last weekend. A LOT. Last top 10 was The Open.

Scottie Scheffler (-1; 9000): He was second gross last year to Schauffele. Read Horses for Courses for gross results. I’d go ahead and lean in for a top 5 again.

Jason Kokrak (-2; +10000): Last top 10 was his win at Colonial.

Kevin Na (-2; +10000): ENAWMISS TRENDS POUNDING INTO EACH OTHER. Great form but nothing doing here in SEVEN previous tries. Never finished top half.

Hideki Matsuyama (-1; +10000): He’s gone low here before (relative to the event). You can him for twice the price as Koepka at one stroke more?

Corey Conners (-1; +12500): It’s not tee to green. It’s on the green.

Daniel Berger (Even; +15000): Too many shots to make up for a guy who has never finished better than 15th in four tries.

Joaquin Niemann (-1; +15000): Rough debut last year. Not much going on after losing a playoff at Rocket Mortgage in July.

Sergio Garcia (Even; +20000): First visit since 2017.

Erik van Rooyen (Even; +20000): First visit. Absolutely on fire. It’s  your money.

Patrick Reed (Even; +20000): From hospital to the driving range! I can’t see it, Ryder Cup or not on the line.

Billy Horschel (Even; +30000): One top 25 (T17) this summer.

Stewart Cink (Even; +35000): First visit since 2009. Fantastic season just to get here and win twice.  

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

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