The PGA TOUR 2018-2019 wrap-around season finale is here. The TOUR Championship, contested as usual at East Lake Golf Club, begins this Thursday, August 22nd, 2019. A new format is in play where the 1st ranked player will start the tournament at -10 all the way down to the 30th ranked player starting at E. For the very first time, the TOUR Championship winner and FedExCup winner is guaranteed to be the same player.
The purse is huge with the winner taking home $15 million and the 30th ranked finisher will clear $395,000 with healthy bonus payouts in between.
Let’s take a look at The TOUR Championship Field.
1. Justin Thomas
Last Week: 15th Appearance: 4th Starting Strokes: -10
JT looks to become the 2nd two-time champ (Tiger Woods of course) adding to his 2017 FEC Championship.
2. Patrick Cantlay
Last Week: 6th Appearance: 3rd Starting Strokes: -8
Comes to East Lake in the best form of his career. He has a real shot this week.
3. Brooks Koepka
Last Week: 1st Appearance: 4th Starting Strokes: -7
Finished T26 at East Lake last year and was never a factor. Certainly has a shot at Player of the Year for the 2nd straight season.
4. Patrick Reed
Last Week: 2nd Appearance: 6th Starting Strokes: -6
Fairly poor record at East Lake. Only five of his 20 rounds under par and best finish is T13.
5. Rory McIlroy
Last Week: 3rd Appearance: 6th Starting Strokes: -5
Won the FEC Championship in 2016. Boast a win and runner-up in his six trips to East Lake.
6. Jon Rahm
Last Week: 5th Appearance: 3rd Starting Strokes: -4
T7 and T11 in his previous two trips to East Lake but is coming in with the best form for the season finale so far.
7. Matt Kuchar
Last Week: 4th Appearance: 9th Starting Strokes: -4
Has only missed one TOUR Championship since 2010, although best finish is T10.
8. Xander Schauffele
Last Week: 7th Appearance: 3rd Starting Strokes: -4
Horse for the course. Won in his 2017 debut and finished T7 last season.
9. Webb Simpson
Last Week: 11th Appearance: 7th Starting Strokes: -4
Had legit opportunity to win in 2011 but finished 22nd at East Lake. Otherwise, has three top 10 finishes in The TOUR Championship.
10. Abraham Ancer
Last Week: 8th Appearance: 1st Starting Strokes: -4
First Mexican to make The Presdient’s Cup Team and first appearance in The TOUR Championship.
11. Gary Woodland
Last Week: 9th Appearance: 7th Starting Strokes: -3
The US Open Champ has only one top 10 in his previous six tries at East Lake.
12. Tony Finau
Last Week: 19th Appearance: 3rd Starting Strokes: -3
Biggest jump for guys already in the top 30 last week. Previous two trips were T7 in 2017 and T15 in 2018.
13. Adam Scott
Last Week: 14th Appearance: 11th Starting Strokes: -3
His 11th start is the most of any player in the field this week. Won at East Lake the year before the FEC started.
14. Dustin Johnson
Last Week: 10th Appearance: 10th Starting Strokes: -3
No wins at East Lake but boasts five top 10s and three top 5s.
15. Hideki Matsuyama
Last Week: 33rd Appearance: 6th Starting Strokes: -3
Huge jump from outside the top 30 all the way to 15th with his solo 3rd at The BMW. Has finished top 5 at The TOUR Championship two of the last three seasons.
16. Paul Casey
Last Week: 13th Appearance: 6th Starting Strokes: -2
Four top 5s in six tries at East Lake and has never finished outside of the top 11.
17. Justin Rose
Last Week: 12th Appearance: 10th Starting Strokes: -2
The defending FedExCup Champ comes in with six straight top 10s at East Lake.
18. Brandt Snedeker
Last Week: 22nd Appearance: 7th Starting Strokes: -2
Won the FEC in 2012 courtesy of a victory at East Lake. Record is very pedestrian otherwise.
19. Rickie Fowler
Last Week: 17th Appearance: 6th Starting Strokes: -2
Had career best finish here last year with a T7 on the strength of two 65s.
20. Kevin Kisner
Last Week: 21st Appearance: 4th Starting Strokes: -2
Returning to East Lake after missing last year’s edition. Best finish of T3 came in his last start at this venue in 2017.
21. Marc Leishman
Last Week: 16th Appearance: 4th Starting Strokes: -1
A T21 is the 2009 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year’s best finish at East Lake. Is this the year he turns it around?
22. Tommy Fleetwood
Last Week: 24th Appearance: 2nd Starting Strokes: -1
Fairway Jesus is still searching for his first W on The PGA TOUR. T11 in his only previous start at East Lake (2018).
23. Corey Conners
Last Week: 27th Appearance: 1st Starting Strokes: -1
All gravy for the first time winner. Monday qualifier for Valero and won, remarkable year no matter what goes down at East Lake.
24. Sungjae Im
Last Week: 26th Appearance: 1st Starting Strokes: -1
Only rookie making the trip to East Lake. Other rookie wins may have been sexier, but Rookie of the Year is not a stretch.
25. Chez Reavie
Last Week: 18th Appearance: 2nd Starting Strokes: -1
First appearance at East Lake since T26 in 2011. Workman like year for Reavie sets him up for a sweet bonus.
26. Bryson DeChambeau
Last Week: 10th Appearance: 2nd Starting Strokes: E
The slow play lightning rod cam to East Lake as the number one seed last year but struggled to a T19 finish in his first appearance.
27. Louis Oosthuizen
Last Week: 28th Appearance: 3rd Starting Strokes: E
Never better than T23 at East Lake, first appearance since WD in 2015.
28. Charles Howell III
Last Week: 23rd Appearance: 6th Starting Strokes: E
The Georgia native returns for the first time since a T6 in 2011. Two-time runner-up at The TOUR Championship but only once at East Lake.
29. Lucas Glover
Last Week: 41st Appearance: 4th Starting Strokes: E
Huge jump into the top 30 after a T7 last week at The BMW. Appearance in the finale is icing on the cake for the 2018 Korn Ferry qualifier.
30. Jason Kokrak
Last Week: 32nd Appearance: 1st Starting Strokes: E
Earned his first start at East Lake with a good week at The BMW. Incredibly solid year will pay off with FEC bonus this week.
Fun Week Ahead
Should be an interesting week with the new format in play. Nobody really knows is this is an experiment or how long it will last. In principle it makes sense, one winner and far less confusion, but if somebody starting low gets off to a hot start folks could lose interest real fast. I think success would be if at least three or four players in the TOUR Championship field are in contention on Sunday.
As always, we’d love to hear your feedback and comments.
The Doctor Is Out…