It all comes down to this.
The FedEx Cup hangs in the balance for one player this weekend at the Tour Championship. There are five men who, if they win on Sunday, automatically win the trophy at East Lake Golf Club – Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Marc Leishman and Jon Rahm.
To be clear, this article is selecting potential winners for the Tour Championship – not necessarily to become FedEx Cup champion. But of course, it’s likely the winner of the tournament will win both titles.
For this week’s stat model, the number of rounds has been changed to eight to give us a better understanding of who’s hot at the moment. Five stats were looked at as you’ll see below, with a greater influence on bogey avoidance. Three of the past five winners at East Lake have led the field in the stat, and this is a difficult par 70 course that will make players pay for errant shots. We’ll be targeting golfers who can string together birdies, but more importantly, avoid blowups.
We also stayed true to the trusty tee-to-green and greens in regulation stats, while also adding driving accuracy which will be very important this week. The numbers represent where the winner ranked in the stat category over the previous five Tour Championships, sorted in descending order from 2016-2012.
Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green – 2nd, 7th, 2nd, 2nd, 6th
Driving Accuracy – 2nd, 6th, 2nd, 4th, 9th
Greens in Regulation – 2nd, 9th, 1st, 2nd, 7th
Birdies – 1st, 8th, 7th, 2nd, 1st
Bogey Avoidance – 3rd, 1st, 1st, 3rd, 1st
All stats are courtesy of FantasyNational.com are based on golfer’s last eight rounds.
Jordan Spieth (5-1)
— TOUR Championship (@playofffinale) September 18, 2017
SG: T2G – 3rd
Driving – 10th
GIRs – 2nd
Bogey Avoid – 4th
Birdies – 7th
Spieth will once again be the betting favorite this week, and rightfully so. Six of his last 12 rounds have been 66 or under, which includes two runner-up finishes. A win this weekend guarantees him three pieces of hardware – Tour Championship, FedEx Cup and PGA Tour Player of the Year; he’ll be gunning for the hat trick in Atlanta.
Jon Rahm (9-1)
Snapchat: PGATOUR pic.twitter.com/YXopvReUeg
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 19, 2017
SG: T2G – 6th
Driving – 5th
GIRs – 6th
Bogey Avoid – 7th
Birdies – 3rd
Rahm has yet to finish outside the top five in his last three tournaments, making him one of the top dogs. He was second in tee-to-green numbers last week, but his putter failed him – losing 1.7 strokes. But for this golf course, the Spaniard is in a good position to make a run towards his first FedEx Cup title.
Justin Rose (14-1)
— Sky Sports Golf ?⛳️ (@SkySportsGolf) September 18, 2017
SG: T2G – 2nd
Driving – 5th
GIRs – 2nd
Bogey Avoid – 1st
Birdies – 4th
Rose flew under the radar on the first two days of the BMW Championship, but fired weekend rounds of 66-65 to give Leishman a scare on Sunday. He ranks first in the stat model thanks to his bogey avoidance and has the best course history among the 30 players. Rose has never finished outside the top six dating back to 2012 with two runner-ups and is the pick to win the 2017 Tour Championship.
Mark Leishman (20-1)
— TOUR Championship (@playofffinale) September 17, 2017
SG: T2G – 1st
Driving – 3rd
GIRs – 2nd
Bogey Avoid – 11th
Birdies – 1st
Leishman won the BMW Championship last week, but is somehow 20-1 win back-to-back tournaments? There’s something wrong here. The Aussie should be in the 10-1 range with his dominant wire-to-wire victory. If not for his low bogey avoidance ranking, Leishman would be the clear frontrunner on the stat model. However, he settles for second place, which is where he’ll likely finish in Atlanta.
Patrick Cantlay (40-1)
An 11-foot putt earned Patrick Cantlay a spot in the PGA Tour’s season finale. But something was missing. https://t.co/FjBhekAFHo
— NYT Sports (@NYTSports) September 18, 2017
SG: T2G – 11th
Driving – 19th
GIRs – 8th
Bogey Avoid – 3rd
Birdies – 15th
Looking for a longshot pick? Patrick Cantlay is your guy. The PGA Tour rookie has an impressive game, producing three-straight top 13 finishes. He’s coming off a ninth-place finish at the BMW, and could find himself near the top of the leaderboard once again in his Tour Championship debut.