We have finally arrived.
Now, with 30 players left in the field, we will get to see who will get the hoist the FedEx Cup. What do we know? Well first, we know that the tournament will be at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. Secondly, we know that the winner of this tournament will go home with potentially $11.44 million (10 for winning the FedEx Cup and 1.44 for the actual tournament.) Finally, the last thing we know for sure is that for the sixth straight season the defending champion, in this case Bill Haas, will not be in the 30-player cast for the final act of the FedEx Cup Playoff saga.
Final Round Point System:
Recently, the PGA Tour has changed how they handle the point system in the Playoffs. Up until the third tournament, or BMW Championship, players continue to build on the points that they earn during the regular season. However, it has recently been changed to have the points reset before the Tour Championship.
This means that all the points that have been racked up by the players no longer matter. Instead, the 30 players that remain will be given a certain amount of points based on where they stand in the standings after the BMW Championship. For example, Rory McIlroy-the leader of the FedEx Cup standings-will be awarded 2500 points for being number one, and fewer points are given lower in the standings.
This means that the top-5 players in the standings “control their own destiny”, and with a win, can be crowned the FedEx Cup champion. The remaining 25 players will have to also win, but need a little help from the field in order to hoist the trophy on Sunday.
(For a complete scenario guide for each player go to PGATOUR.com).
East Lake Golf Club is a short course that plays just over 7100 yards, with an even par score of 70. It was opened in 1908 and is famous for being the home course to legendary golfer Bobby Jones. It was designed by Tom Bendelow, and serves not only as a historic course, but a philanthropic one as well. Millions of dollars are donated every year to support families living in the East Lake Community offering support to help them succeed.
The course itself creates a number of challenges to its players, and should not fail to live up to fan’s expectations for a dramatic finish to these FedEx Cup Playoffs. Here are four holes to watch and see if they are able to “trip up” the scoring numbers.
A 215-yard hole that is essential to hit the green off the tee. It is a par-3 that can play shorter than its yardage, but is heavily guarded by bunkers on the front right side of the green and the back left of the green, which can leave you with a small window to hit with a back-hole pin location. Once on the green, the green slopes heavily from front to back making putts very difficult to read.
After a tough stretch of a couple of holes, hole #7 plays even tougher. It plays as a par-4 that is just shy of 400 yards, but the yardage is not the issue on this hole. The seventh hole features four difficult bunkers-one on the right side of the fairway and two in front of the green-that demand accuracy off of the tee. Even if you get it past the fairway bunker and on the fairway, you still are left with three bunkers in front of an elevated green that is not visible to the players.
The back nine at East Lake Golf Club is slightly less difficult than the front, but still can have its challenges. For example, hole number fourteen is a par-4 to be reckoned with. It plays a straight 442 yards from tee to green, but don’t let that fool you. The trees on both sides of the fairway make it a tight squeeze to fit the ball in between. A front side ball placement on the green is ideal on this hole.
Finally, with a positive hole to talk about we have arrived on the par-5 15th. This short par-5 is one that you will see players attacking all weekend. With a good drive, most players should be able to reach the green in two. However, look out for the bunkers that trap this green.
With the top-5 players having the ability to “control their own destiny”, I don’t see a big upset happening this weekend at East Lake. Not only are some of the scenarios for these players a long shot, but also the top-five players are there for a reason. Finally, because the top-five are playing so well I will look at all five of them as a possibility:
Rory McIlroy- Obviously the number one player in the world has a chance of winning this weekend. He is playing out of his mind right now, and after winning his second tournament, fourth overall, in a row how could you not want to pick the young Irishman.
Tiger Woods- Playing just as well as McIlroy in the playoffs right now. Yes he hasn’t won yet, but he has been in the final groups at least once in each of the three tournaments. In addition, he is second in the world, second in all time PGA tour wins, and has recently made over 100 million dollars in tour money over his career. Translation? The guy flat out wins, and still has one last big run in him.
Nick Watney- Out of all the top-five players Watney is the guy I have the least amount of confidence in. Yes he won the Barclays, but that was nearly a month ago, and since then he has yet to flirt with the top-10. I’ll save you the trouble and say that Nick Watney will not be your FedEx Cup champion.
Phil Mickelson-Yes he is finding some confidence in his game. He has a new putting grip. He has confidence. He has won at East Lake before. He has played against the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy and won. Phil Mickelson is very much in the talks of winning the FedEx Cup this year.
Brandt Snedeker- A great young talent who is going to the Ryder Cup for the first time. He finished second at The Barclays, but again, that was a month ago. This year we have seen him jump out to a big lead on the field, but fail to hold it. The question for the man in 5th place is can he finish?
Winner: I have to stay with Tiger Woods on this one. The man is so close to being “back”. Because he didn’t win a major this year, Tiger Woods needs this win more than anyone else. He needs some confidence going into the Ryder Cup next week. This win would solidify Tiger Woods’ already great year. How great would it be to see Tiger, Phil, and Rory all fighting for the cup going into the 18th on Sunday?