The season’s last tournament and the final stop of the FedEx Cup (FEC) playoffs is here. The TOUR Championship will be at East Lake in Atlanta, Georgia. The course will play as a par 70, measuring 7,346 yards and be putt on Bermuda greens. This course is a Donald Ross design.
The new scoring system implemented three years ago, what the PGA TOUR refers to as a ‘strokes-based bonus,” correlates to the FEC standings heading into The TOUR Championship. The top 30 in FEC standings will be playing for a chance to win $15 million. With the most points, Scottie Scheffler ($13,600) starts at 10-under, with second place starting two back at eight-under and descending by a stroke to fifth place. Head to the FedEx Cup page on the PGA TOUR website for a complete list of where the golfers will start.
Donald Ross courses are about positioning yourself nicely off the tee and hitting elite approaches from the correct angles into these Bermuda greens. Even though the region has seen more rain than usual, these greens should play fast as they have over the previous three years. While iron play is paramount on a Ross design, Strokes Gained: Putting has proved more crucial over Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green for the winners over the previous five years. When Rory McIlroy ($10,800) and Xander Schauffele ($12,300) are some of the best golfers on a course, total driving should be an important stat to key in on this week.
Fading some golfers high on the leaderboard could prove prudent when filling out rosters. The golfers will be starting with their “finishing” position points on DraftKings, but as we’ve seen in the previous two years, those points can go away fast if or when the leaders are no longer where they started. The top of the leaderboard golfers only come in with their starting points, not the birdies or better points they usually get on the path to victory. McIlroy is the only golfer to win the TOUR Championship and be in the winning lineup (2019). Also, over the previous three years, winning lineups in the main tournament haven’t used their entire $50,000 salary. The most used was $49,800 last season, and the least was $49,500 in 2020.
Rory McIlroy ($10,800)
There’s been one golfer who’s been in the winning lineup each of the last three years: Rory McIlroy. The triple bogey on the 15th hole in the first round and nothing going his way on the greens ultimately stopped him from competing last week, but no one was better tee-to-green than McIlroy, gaining 10.56 strokes at Wilmington Country Club. Rory will be a popular pick this week, but rostering chalk at the top of the range for the golfer who’s won the TOUR Championship twice shouldn’t be faded, especially with how he’s playing. We’ve seen the weekend surge from Jon Rahm ($10,900) twice, where he’s started slow and grinded his way to a top-5 finish in FedEx St. Jude Championship and a top-8 finish last week at the BMW Championship. Rahm recorded the lowest gross score last season at East Lake and now starts seven back from Scheffler. Rahm recorded 10 birdies and no bogeys last weekend and ranked second in strokes gained off-the-tee over the entire week. His Bermuda putting could worry some managers off Rahm this week, but we all know his upside is massive.
Sungjae Im ($9,100)
Im could be a potential daily fantasy golf sleeper this week with a bunch of sentiment going toward McIlroy and Rahm. Sunday’s round last week was chaotic, recording five bogeys and five birdies. He birdied the final three holes on Sunday and has finished inside the top 15 in each round of the playoffs. Back-to-back runner-up finishes at the 3M Open and the Wyndham Championship this season should give the 19th-ranked golfer in the world confidence coming into a tournament he hasn’t played well in the past. A top-8 finish at this year’s Sentry Tournament of Champions and an eighth place at this year’s Masters Tournament are good signs he could be up for the challenge the TOUR Championship presents. Losing strokes through approach in his past two events is not great, and you never want to bank on another spike putting week. Still, with a week like the TOUR Championship, you need to zig when others zag, and Im has been playing well for the last month; hopefully, he can end on a high note.
Aaron Wise ($5,400)
Since 2019, there have been five total golfers under $6,000 in the winning lineups. Last season, Daniel Berger and Billy Horschel were at $5,900 and $5,100 respectively, and Wise could fill that role this week. Wise is averaging 3.65 strokes gained through approach in the playoffs and 2.35 off-the-tee. He finished 15th last week but was in the top 5 on Sunday before suffering a late double-bogey-bogey stretch that took him out of a podium finish. Wise has nothing to lose starting at even par, so he should be attacking each pin and scoring like he has been for the past month.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests. The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups.
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