Power Rankings: TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola
September 21, 2015
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
- Rory McIlroy has finished T2 and T10 respectively in his only two appearances at East Lake. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Billy Horschel is going to have to wait another year to defend a FedExCup title. Four golfers at last week's BMW Championship played their way into this week's TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, but he was not among them, settling instead for 66th in points. Only the top 30 advance to East Lake Golf Club for the 2014-15 season finale.
Daniel Berger, Scott Piercy, Kevin Na and Harris English survived and advanced after strong finishes at Conway Farms Golf Club. Berger and English are also among the four golfers who started outside the top 30 at the beginning of the Playoffs to reach East Lake. Henrik Stenson and Sangmoon Bae are the other two. Those four and the 26 others in the field each have a mathematical possibility of claiming the trophy that Horschel has surrendered. Each of the top five in points would win it with a victory on the much-modified par 70 in Atlanta.
It's been a while, though, since East Lake underwent significant renovations. In fact, this is already the eighth edition since the old bentgrass greens were replaced with Miniverdde Bermudagrass. Scoring averages have alternated under and over par for each of the last five. Last year's checked in at +0.259 strokes to par, so it's the kind of fair test everyone wants given what's at stake.
The winner of the tournament will earn $1.485 million and the FedExCup champion will receive $10 million. Horschel led his field in 2014 in greens in regulation (57) and co-led in par-3 scoring (2.81), but it was his balanced attack that yielded a three-stroke victory during the hottest stretch of his career. He ranked T5 that week in proximity to the hole, sixth in strokes gained: putting and T8 in scrambling. And while he finished just 13th in birdies-or-better percentage, he led the field in fewest bogeys or worse (five bogeys).
Overall, East Lake limited the field to a greens-hit clip of 62.07 percent, which was a five-year low, but its birdies-or-better percentage of 28.85 set the record since the new grass was planted. And let's not forget that the 18th hole is one of just two par-3 finishers on the PGA TOUR (The Old White TPC). It surrendered only 10 birdies among the 116 times played last year. It's never been aced in this tournament, which it hosts for the 15th time since 1998.
In addition to all of the spoils at East Lake, all 30 in the field are exempt into the first three majors and the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship in 2016.
Mother Nature may toss a wrench into the festivities in northern Georgia this week. The threat for rain and boomers rises into the picture by Friday and lingers for the remainder. It will be accompanied by gradually decreasing temperatures into the mid-70s. Moderate winds from the north and east -- opposite of the prevailing -- are already forecast as the energy passes through.
POWER RANKINGS: TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP BY COCA-COLA
RANK PLAYER COMMENT 1 Jason Day 2 Rory McIlroy 3 Rickie Fowler 4 Jordan Spieth 5 Justin Rose 6 Hideki Matsuyama 7 Henrik Stenson 8 Dustin Johnson 9 Paul Casey 10 Bubba Watson 11 Zach Johnson 12 Patrick Reed 13 Matt Kuchar 14 Kevin Kisner 15 Robert Streb 16 Scott Piercy 17 Bill Haas 18 Louis Oosthuizen 19 Daniel Berger 20 Harris English 21 Jim Furyk 22 J.B. Holmes 23 Kevin Na 24 Brooks Koepka 25 Jimmy Walker 26 Brandt Snedeker 27 Danny Lee 28 Charley Hoffman 29 Steven Bowditch 30 Sangmoon Bae