It's the triumphant/bittersweet/long overdue (depending on who you ask) end of the PGA Tour season this week. Fans will pine for tour action for a total of one week after the Tour Championship before the 2017-2018 season gets started with the Safeway Open.
The host venue for the Tour Championship is the same as it has been since the advent of the FedEx Cup: East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia.
The final 30 men standing in the FedEx Cup Playoffs tee it up in hopes of claiming the $10 million annuity granted to the FEC champion. Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, and Marc Leishman, as the leaders in the points race, have the best shot at achieving that outcome, obviously.
A medium-difficulty track, East Lake Golf Club was originally designed by Donald Ross. Rees Jones gave it a facelift in 2008. Quality ballstriking is paramount at the par 70 layout.
The bermudagrass rough can punish, so players who spray it will suffer. Focus on strong iron players and guys who hit a lot of greens in addition to the usual strokes gained metrics and birdie or better percentage this week.
With so few players in the field and ownership levels sky high for the handful of top players, dialing back exposure and plowing more money into cash game than GPPs is advisable.
Creme de la Creme
Rickie Fowler: $10,900
The highest Sagarin rated golfer this season, Rickie Fowler has finished inside the top 15 in his last two Tour Championships. Fowler tied for second at last week's BMW Championship and tied for 13th at the Dell Technologies Championship the week prior. Fowler is 26th in strokes gained: off-the-tee this year, 23rd in strokes gained: approach, and second in total strokes gained.
Justin Rose: $8,900
Rose has finished inside the top 10 in his last four Tour Championship appearances. After ties for 10th in the first two playoff events, Rose did excellent work at Conway Farms, tying for second. 15th in strokes gained: off-the-tee, 10th in total strokes gained.
Paul Casey: $8,600
Paul Casey, DFS darling that he has been in the latter portion of this year, is also a horse for East Lake. The Englishman has never finished worse than fifth at the Tour Championship. Fifth in strokes gained: tee-to-green, eighth in total strokes gained. Casey's tied for 33rd at the BMW Championship was his first non-top-15-finish since the Travelers Championship. Don't get discouraged, fire him up this week.
Matt Kuchar: $7,700
Kuch was a top-15 finisher in four of his last five Tour Championships. He bounced back from a tie for 56th at the Dell Technologies Championship with a tie for fifth at last week's BMW Championship. 25th in strokes gained: tee-to-green, 16th in total strokes gained. Kuchar is about $500 underpriced this week. Plug him in.
Webb Simpson: $7,500
Simpson has two top-10 finishes in his last four tries at East Lake. He's finished inside the top 10 in three of his last four starts, including the BMW Championship last week where he fired three rounds in the 60s and tied for ninth. It ain't pretty, but Webb gets it done. 25th in total strokes gained. He should be $300 or $400 more expensive this week.
Gary Woodland: $6,400
In four Tour Championship appearances, Woodland has finished outside the top 10 just once. And at $200 more than the cheapest man in this extremely small field, Woodland is a chance worth taking.