The 2013-14 PGA TOUR season is about to wrap. There's just the little ol' matter of determining who wins the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and the eighth edition of the FedExCup. If the champion at East Lake Golf Club emerges from the top five in the FedExCup standings, he'll automatically claim the FedExCup as well. That would translate into a cool $11.44 million payday, $10 million of which is bonus prize money. So, that's all.
By merely advancing to the elite field in Atlanta, the 30 qualifiers, 29 of whom are expected to compete, already know that they're exempt into the first three majors of 2015 as well as the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. They don't have to sweat a cut yet again this week and will be tackling a host course that rolled over for last year's field.
Average 69.383 in 2013, East Lake ranked as the second-easiest par 70 all season. That's also the lowest scoring average since Bentgrass greens were replaced with Miniverde Bermudagrass prior to the 2008 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Greens average 6,200 square feet and are expected to be slick. Both nines are par 35s and the course can stretch 7,307 yards.
Last year's field averaged a six-year high 69.12 percent of the greens in regulation and a six-year low 35'2" in proximity to the hole. Henrik Stenson's winning aggregate of 13-under 267 also set the new standard with the new putting surfaces. He ranked second in strokes gained-putting and co-led the field in both greens hit and the all-around.
Aside from rain during the third round last year when scoring was at its highest of the week at 70.233, Mother Nature didn't defend East Lake. Inclement weather cannot be ruled out early this week as a gradually decreasing chance for rain and boomers extends into Saturday. High temperatures in the upper 80s and humidity will accompany the threat. A pleasant but potentially breezy Sunday awaits.
Here are the rankings for the 29 players in the field (No. 30 Dustin Johnson has taken a leave of absence and will not play).
POWER RANKINGS: TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP BY COCA-COLA
RANK PLAYER COMMENT 1 Rory McIlroy 2 Jim Furyk 3 Rickie Fowler 4 Billy Horschel 5 Jordan Spieth 6 Bubba Watson 7 Bill Haas 8 Justin Rose 9 Adam Scott 10 Sergio Garcia 11 Ryan Palmer 12 Martin Kaymer 13 Geoff Ogilvy 14 Jimmy Walker 15 Zach Johnson 16 Webb Simpson 17 Morgan Hoffmann 18 Gary Woodland 19 Hunter Mahan 20 Matt Kuchar 21 Hideki Matsuyama 22 John Senden 23 Chris Kirk 24 Jason Day 25 Cameron Tringale 26 Russell Henley 27 Patrick Reed 28 Brendon Todd 29 Kevin Na