The third and final FedEx Cup playoff event is here, sadly signaling the end of the current PGA Tour season. And while golf will return in only a couple of weeks, it’s the last time we’ll see nearly all of golf’s heavyweights in the same tournament for quite some time. This week, the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings will play at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta for the Tour Championship.
There is one big change to this tournament that golfers and fans alike have not seen before. Each player will start the tournament with a score based on their current position in the FedEx Cup standings. The PGA believes this method will prevent a scenario like last year, where Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship, but Justin Rose won the FedEx Cup. With this change, the winner of this year’s Tour Championship will win the FedEx Cup, period.
On the heels of last week’s record-setting victory at the BMW Championship, Justin Thomas will head to Atlanta already in the lead at -10. Patrick Cantlay, last week’s runner-up, will trail Thomas by two strokes and start at -8. Brooks Koepka (-7), Patrick Reed (-6), and Rory McIlroy (-5) will round out the top five.
After that, golfers six through 10 will start at -4, 11 through 15 at -3, and so on through the final five, who will start at even par.
Now without further ado, here are the golfers to keep a serious eye on this week.
Justin Thomas 9/4
Starting Strokes: -10 (first place)
Thomas is unsurprisingly the betting favorite, given that he enters the tournament with a lead. But last week’s performance in Medinah, Ill., could possibly be a sign of things to come for JT, who missed several weeks with a wrist injury back in the spring. Thomas leads the field in SG: approach and has finished no worse than T7 in three trips to East Lake. Still, a good Thursday will be important for Thomas to begin to distance himself from the field.
Justin Thomas is unstoppable today.
He holed this one for EAGLE and a five-shot lead. 😱pic.twitter.com/EFNilMuhiD
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) August 17, 2019
Patrick Cantlay and Brooks Koepka 9/2
Starting Strokes: Cantlay -8 (second place), Koepka -7 (third place)
A lot of books have identical odds for Cantlay and Koepka, so we’ll list the two of them together. Cantlay is a player without a real weakness, ranking in the top 15 of nearly every statistical category on Tour. However, he has disappointed in both trips to East Lake, finishing no higher than T20.
As for Koepka, he leads the Tour in Par 4 scoring as well as approaches from 175-200 yards out. Not to mention, he is a beast in big-time events with lots of money on the line. Both of these players have the ability to win and are in good starting positions to do so.
Jon Rahm 16/1
Starting Strokes: -4 (sixth place)
Rahm has been red hot, finishing in the top five in both playoff events. That’s in large part to his ball-striking ability, as he ranked second on the Tour in SG: off-the-tee this season. The one downside? He trails Thomas by six strokes before he even tees off on Thursday. But we’ve seen Rahm turn it on plenty of times, and he can enter the conversation to win extremely quickly.
Adam Scott 40/1
Starting Strokes: -3 (13th place)
Starting play seven strokes back, Scott will have a mountain to climb very early. But he has recent form and history on his side, making him an interesting sleeper. Scott has top-10 finishes in both playoff events, as well as top-10 finishes in his last two appearances at East Lake. At 40/1, he could give you a big payoff from just a small investment.
Some other golfers to like who weren’t mentioned include Webb Simpson (25/1, -4), Tony Finau (40/1, -3), and Abraham Ancer (80/1, -4). But we’re making Brooks Koepka the pick to win his first Tour Championship and FedEx Cup.