Boys On Tour – Back Bubba!
The PGA Tour moves to Atlanta this week where The Tour Championship tees off at the East Lake Golf Club.
The Tour Championship is the climax of the FedEx Cup play-offs, and includes only the top thirty golfers in the FedEx rankings as they stood at the end of last week’s BMW Championship. There’s no half-way cut, and with a purse of $8 million for this tournament, plus the first prize of $10 million for the golfer who tops the FedEx rankings at the end of it, this is always a fiercely competitive four days.
The Tour Championship has been based at East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, since 2004, one of the oldest courses in the United States and the home of the legendary Bobby Jones. At a little over 7300 yards long, it doesn’t give the bigger hitters much of an advantage, and overall, it isn’t considered amongst the hardest courses on the PGA Tour, but the last three holes are tricky and a stern test of mental strength.
In The Bunker
After his stellar efforts earlier in the summer, Rory McIlroy has not been at his best in recent weeks. Two top-tens is hardly failure, but he hasn’t really justified his eye-wateringly short odds in any of his three Fed-Ex Cup play-off outings and his latest effort at the BMW Championship included a couple of four-putts in a poor third round. He may rediscover his form this week, in which case he could walk this event, but I’m not prepared to back him at 7/2 to find out.
Bubba Watson missed out on the Tour Championship in 2012 but he’s back this year and heads to East Lake in excellent touch. Having failed to crack the top ten since Memorial at the start of June, he recovered from an opening round 70 at Cherry Hills and fired off three consecutive rounds of 66 to finish second.
With the Ryder Cup around the corner he’s hitting form at the right time and is a decent bet at 18/1.
Webb Simpson has been hit and miss this season, and he finished way down the field at Cherry Hills last week, but his record in this event makes him an interesting contender. He finished fifth at East Lake in 2012 and went one better there last year, shooting a final round of 63. He’s a slightly risky betting proposition but odds of 33/1 offer some compensation and he could be a lively outsider this week.
Up to the middle of August Morgan Hoffman hadn’t made at top ten all season, but he’s found his form in the Fed Ex Cup play-offs. He finished ninth at the Barclays, and then bettered that at the weekend, recovering from an ordinary opening couple of rounds, to hit a 62 and a 63 and finish third. This is his Tour Championship debut, but this young player is red hot at the moment and well worth a look at 50/1.