The top 30 golfers on the FedEx Cup points list are headed to the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta this week.
It’ll be difficult to top the dramatic finishes that transpired at the first two legs of the playoffs.
Tony Finau defeated Cameron Smith in a playoff at the Northern Trust, then Patrick Cantlay outlasted Bryson DeChambeau in an epic duel that went six extra holes at the BMW Championship.
Cantlay won for the third time this season with +2500 odds entering that event, and he subsequently leads the Tour Championship before he hits a single shot.
For the third year in a row, the latest iteration of the FedEx Cup finale format sees the top players beginning the final tournament ahead of the players who barely squeaked into East Lake.
That means Cantlay is two strokes up on Finau, who’s currently in second, and three ahead of DeChambeau.
The sliding scale goes down from there so those who finished in the 26th-to-30th positions are a full 10 shots back of the lead.
The lone Canadian teeing it up is Corey Conners, who will begin nine strokes back, having placed in 21st position.
Since he’s so far behind to begin with, he is a massive long shot to earn his first FedEx Cup title at +15000 odds.
The first two versions of this altered format produced different results.
In 2019, Rory McIlroy won despite starting the week five shots off the lead.
In 2020, Dustin Johnson secured the title after he led entering the week.
Tour Championship Starting Positions
Patrick Cantlay -10
Tony Finau -8
Bryson DeChambeau -7
Jon Rahm -6
Cameron Smith -5
Here's our first look at the field for the Tour Championship.
Betting Odds To Win 2021 Tour Championship – Top 15
Patrick Cantlay +333
Jon Rahm +400
Bryson DeChambeau +500
Tony Finau +700
Justin Thomas +1600
Cameron Smith +2000
Dustin Johnson +2000
Rory McIlroy +2500
Jordan Spieth +2800
Abraham Ancer +3300
Xander Schauffele +3300
Harris English +4000
Collin Morikawa +4000
Louis Oosthuizen +4000
Viktor Hovland +4000
DeChambeau out for revenge
In recent months, Bryson DeChambeau has suffered some heartbreaking losses, and perhaps none more than the BMW Championship last weekend.
He was first in strokes gained off-the-tee, picking up on eight shots on his contemporaries.
He was sensational on the greens, ranking second in SG: putting, picking up over nine strokes against the field.
That putter was balky in the playoff against Patrick Cantlay, however, and it cost him his ninth tour title.
Had he won, he’d have been on top of the Tour Championship leaderboard and Cantlay would’ve been third, which is a crucial six stroke swing.
In June, he led the U.S. Open before a shocking back nine score of 8-over, 44 sunk his chances.
Then this month at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, he again led on the back nine before suffering another bitter pill to swallow.
He continues to put himself in contention with chances and he’s too talented to be down for long.
In his last 12 rounds, the Mad Scientist is first in strokes gained: off the tee, second in total strokes gained and ball striking.
DeChambeau is clearly peaking at the right time, and at +500 odds, you’re getting him at better value than the top two competitors on the board.
Past Five Winners at the Tour Championship
2020: Dustin Johnson - 21 (3 shot win)
2019: Rory McIlroy -18 (4 shot win)
2018: Tiger Woods -11 (2 shot win)
2017: Xander Schauffele -12 (1 shot win)
2016: Rory McIlroy -12 (Playoff)
Fore Your Information
Dustin Johnson +2000
Dustin Johnson is the reigning FedEx Cup champion, having gone on an incredible win-second-win run through the playoffs in 2020.
He’s also coming off his best finish (tied for sixth) since winning the Masters last November.
For the week, DJ was fourth in strokes gained off-the-tee.
That was his third top-10 result in his last five events.
He has enjoyed success around this track, having posted six career top-10 finishes at the Tour Championship.
He’s second in scoring average for the season, which will be critical for success considering he starts seven off the pace.
While he hasn’t been his usual dominant self this season, when he’s at his best he’s scary difficult to beat, as evidenced by his 11-shot romp at last year’s Northern Trust.
He’s +2000 to become the first golfer to win the FedEx Cup in back-to-back years entering this week.
Horse for this Course
Xander Schauffele +3300
Though he begins the Tour Championship eight shots adrift, Xander Schauffele is a force to be reckoned with at East Lake.
In four starts at this venue, he’s been downright spectacular, as he won in his very first attempt in 2017.
Last year, he finished in a tie for second, but actually had the best 72-hole score if you take out the starting strokes.
The X-Man also was second in 2019, and T-7th in 2018.
Subsequently, he has some gaudy numbers in ‘strokes gained’ categories at this course.
He’s first in total strokes gained and short game, second in ball striking and putting, third tee-to-green and around the green, and fourth off-the-tee.
He has a great deal of confidence given that he recently won Olympic gold at the men’s golf competition in Tokyo.
The likelihood of him erasing such a big deficit is unlikely, thus the long +3300 odds to win outright, but banking on him to get inside the top 5/10 is absolutely within the realm of possibilities.