The top five players in the current FedEx Cup standings are in control of their own destiny and the financial rewards. Each golfer knows that if he wins the Tour Championship he also win the FedEx Cup and $10 million bonus. The most appropriate winner of both titles would be Justin Rose. He is now at number one in the world rankings and he’s also the current Olympic champion. Other players made polite excuses but Rose embraced the Olympic experience and he was a worthy winner. The English player also won the US Open in 2013.
Rose is one of the five players who are not relying on other players. If one of the quintet wins the Tour Championship the FedEx Cup is in the bag. Rose is the only non-US player in the top five in the standings. At number two only Bryson DeChambeau is above him and Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas occupy third to fifth place. All four Americans are playing in the Ryder Cup but Finau and DeChambeau required wildcard picks to make the team but their form this season and over the last few weeks in particular warrants selection.
The Tour Championship has a limited field of 30 players. There is no 36 hole cut so everybody receives a cheque but the biggest prize is for winning the FedEx Cup. The concept was first introduced for the 2007 season and Tiger Woods is the only multiple winner. Seven of the 11 champions are players from the United States, Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson have won the title for Europe and Vijay Singh from Fiji won the FedEx Cup in 2008. Four winners were ranked outside the top 10 in the pre-Cup standings. Justin Thomas won the FedEx Cup last season. No player has won the Cup in two successive years as there was a one year gap between Woods’ wins.
Patton Kizzire claimed the last place but he can still win the FedEx Cup. He must win the Tour Championship and hope for a bizarre combinations of results which includes DeChambeau finishing tied 29th or 30th. As you move up the rankings the scenarios become more feasible but anyone outside the top 10 will struggle to prevail by winning the Tour Championship and benefitting from favours from other players. Keegan Bradley and Brooks Koepka can finish second and still have a mathematical chance of winning the FedEx Cup. Below 7th players face a huge task to win the Cup.
Since 2004 East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta has been the permanent home of the Tour Championship. The course is relatively long for a par 70 and it provides a tough test. There are just two par 5s and the usual quote of short holes. The 18th is a par 3 but the nines are reversed this week so that the final hole is a par 5 with more potential for drama and swings on the leaderboard. The bentgrass greens are tricky and overall the course requires a game with no weaknesses for good scoring. When the event was played after the Ryder Cup the Ryder Cup players had a poor record. The winner is usually in the first three after 54 holes.
There is no doubt that Rose is in great shape to win the Tour Championship. He is the world’s top-ranked player but suffered a loss to Keegan Bradley in a playoff for the BMW Championship. The gap of a week before the Tour Championship will bring Rose many benefits but the other 29 players have also enjoyed that luxury. It’s more about Rose’s record and suitability to the East Lake course that makes him the selection to win the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup in 2018.