Welcome back to The Dormie! Been a weird season with my golf coverage but as the 2016 season comes to a close, we have back-to-back weeks of excitement to look forward to. It’s a consensus pick that next week’s Ryder Cup is the more exciting of the two but the FedEx Cup has established it’s presence on the PGA Tour in its 10th year and is now held with a higher regard; although, still not at the level of a Major or Ryder Cup.
East Lake Golf Club: Par 70, Yardage: 7,385 yards
East Lake Golf Club outside Atlanta is once again the site for the finale of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Unlike previous years, this year’s Tour Championship will feature reversed nines, meaning the much-criticized “drama-less” par-3 18th hole will now be the 9th hole and par-5 9th hole will now be the 18th. The move was announced by the PGA Tour earlier this year in response to the lack of drama for fans the 18th hole had provided. The final three holes of the course are rated as the 1st, 13th, and 5th hardest holes on the course so the drama could arise fast at the end of any round. East Lake itself is famed for being the course where Bobby Jones played his first and last rounds of golf.
TV Coverage (Eastern Time):
Thursday and Friday: 1:00pm to 6:00pm (Golf Channel)
Saturday: 10:00am-noon (Golf Channel) and noon-3:30pm (NBC)
Sunday: Noon-1:30pm (Golf Channel) and 1:30pm-finish (NBC)
The Field consists of the final 30 golfers remaining in playoffs. For those unaware of the format, the FedEx Cup Playoffs consist of four tournaments. Starting with 125 players in the first tournament, each event has a smaller and smaller field after effectively cutting the players with lower point totals. Players who play well in the tournaments can propel themselves into contention with consistency, Sean O’Hair having the largest jump–began the playoffs ranked 108th and enters this week at 25th. Others can take events and still be ok, Phil Mickelson skipped the Deutsche Bank and only fell from 10th to 15th.
The obvious storyline is the FedEx Cup itself. The point-totals are reset for all 30 golfers so that any of the competitors have a chance to win the Cup and it ensures that if any of the top five win the event, they will win the Cup. In fact, only two of the first nine FedEx Cup Champions didn’t win the Tour Championship but still won the Cup: Vijay Singh in 2008 and Tiger Woods in 2009. The top five entering the event are Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott, Jason Day, and Paul Casey. In order for someone to rise up and win the Cup, someone in the top three would have to finish outside of the top two. Dustin will look to capitalize off a stellar 2016 that included redemption at the US Open. Patrick Reed wants to be included with the rest of the US’ best. Adam Scott has a had a great 2016 but never truly capitalized with a win. Jason Day is battling a back injury but the fan favorite could continue his consistent climb to superstardom. Paul Casey has had an interesting ride that has included solid play in the three playoff events leading to this (well aside from the final day at the Deutsche Bank). Rory and Jordan come in at 6th and 7th so both will help a little help to capture the Cup.
The other storyline coming this weekend is the final captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup next week. Bubba Watson, Justin Thomas, and Daniel Berger are considered to be the top favorites to take that spot but we’ll have to see who US Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III announces.
Adam Scott. The Aussie has been great throughout 2016 and carried that play into the FedEx Cup Playoffs finishing at least tied for 4th at all three events. His countryman Jason Day is someone I’d keep an eye out on but his back issues concern me. I think both want to finish their seasons off right as Australia doesn’t compete in the Ryder Cup. Rory and Jordan are solid picks as well although both were shaky at the BMW two weeks ago.
Disagree with my pick? Who do think will be in the final groups on Sunday? Let me know in the commentsFollow @geordo9