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September 13 2013

11:10 PM

First Look: TOUR Champ. by Coca-Cola

Chris Condon/PGA TOUR
East Lake Golf Club was the boyhood home of Bobby Jones.

By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.com contributor

• COURSE: East Lake Golf Club, 7,154 yards, par 70. The onetime home of the Atlanta Athletic Club opened in 1908 as a Tom Bendelow design, later to be revamped by Donald Ross. It’s best known as the boyhood course of famed Bobby Jones, who by age 11 was shooting 80 and later etched his name in history by sweeping the 1930 “Grand Slam.” The AAC hosted the 1950 U.S. Women’s Amateur and 1963 Ryder Cup before the surrounding neighborhood began to decay. A relocation to the northern suburbs came in 1967, leaving East Lake in the hands of 25 members opposed to the move. Revival began in 1993 when a partnership was formed to restore the club as a tribute to Jones. The TOUR Championship came to East Lake for the first time in 1998, making it an annual stop in 2004.

• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 2,500 points.

• CHARITY: The East Lake Foundation, founded in 1995 to lead the revitalization of the neighborhood surrounding the historic course. The foundation has spurred such projects as the Charles R. Drew Charter School, East Lake Family YMCA and Charlie Yates Golf Course.

• FIELD WATCH: FedExCup regular-season points leader Tiger Woods, The Barclays winner Adam Scott and Deutsche Bank Championship victor Henrik Stenson headline the 30-man roster chasing for the $10 million bonus that goes to the season champion. … Brandt Snedeker returns to defend his titles, becoming the first reigning FedExCup champion to make it back to East Lake the following year. … At least 11 of the U.S. Presidents Cup team members are projected to tee it up at East Lake, with Zach Johnson on the bubble. The International team will likely only be represented by Adam Scott, Jason Day and Grahem DeLaet.

• 72-HOLE RECORD: 257, Tiger Woods (2007).

• 18-HOLE RECORD: 60, Zach Johnson (3rd round, 2007).

• LAST YEAR: Snedeker nabbed both the victory and the FedExCup’s top prize with a final-round 68, good for a three-shot romp that left both world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods in his wake. The three men were separated by just four strokes entering the final day, but Snedeker was the only player from the final five groups to break par as East Lake flexed its muscle. Three birdies on the back nine allowed Snedeker to open space ahead of McIlroy and Woods, and late challenges from Justin Rose and Ryan Moore came up short. Rose wound up second, with Moore and Luke Donald another stroke behind.

• STORYLINES: Those inside the top five in FedExCup points can win the FedExCup simply by winning the finale. Everyone outside the top five will need help to win points title. … Points are reset after the BMW Championship, giving everyone a mathematical chance of claiming the title. For No. 30 to win, though, the points leader would have to finish in the bottom two at East Lake. … Rookie Jordan Spieth, who turned 20 in July, is set to eclipse Woods as the youngest player to play the TOUR Championship. Woods was 20 years, 9 months at the 1996 edition.

• SHORT CHIPS: Snedeker’s winning score of 270 last year was the lowest at East Lake since Woods’ sizzling 257 in 2007. The entire field took advantage of rain-softened conditions that year, giving East Lake the title as 2007’s easiest layout. … Phil Mickelson’s 17th start in the TOUR Championship will be the most in tournament history. Ernie Els also can get to 17 if he advances out of this week’s BMW Championship; Vijay Singh and Davis Love III each have 16 starts. … Barring injury or other mishap, Hunter Mahan will end the year as the only man to tee it up in every FedExCup playoff round since the format’s 2007 launch.

• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 1-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 10 a.m.-noon (GC), noon-3:30 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (GC), 1:30-6 p.m. (NBC).

• RADIO: Thursday-Friday, noon-6 p.m. ET. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, noon-6 p.m. (PGATOUR.com and SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio).

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