The First Look: TOUR Championship
August 16, 2019
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods captures the 2018 TOUR Championship
Here we go. The last 30 players remain and the winner takes the $15 million FedExCup. Of course, some have a better chance than others as we see the staggered start in affect for the first time ever at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. As is the first year in anything, this season will be a bit of a mystery, but it all adds to the excitement. Will the man who starts on top hold on to his advantage? Can someone actually make up 10 shots over four rounds? It’s going to be a hell of a ride to find out.
FIELD NOTES: With the top 30 eligible there are still a few positions set to be confirmed as the weekend at the BMW Championship plays out… But plenty of big names have already secured passage… Expect to see Brooks Koepka, the only three-time winner this season, in a prime spot… Reigning FedExCup champion Justin Rose will also make a start… Some other former FedExCup champions in Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are locks... Can Dustin Johnson or Patrick Reed add a FedExCup to their resume? … One guy who isn’t a lock is defending TOUR Championship winner Tiger Woods. He needs a huge weekend at the BMW Championship to make it.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives the FedExCup and $15 million. The FedExCup leader heading to the TOUR Championship will start at 10 under, second place at 8 under, third 7 under, fourth 6 under with fifth at 5 under. Players ranked 6-10 will start at 4 under, 11-15 at 3 under, 16-20 at 2 under, 21-25 at 1 under and 26-30 at even par. Using this staggered leaderboard, the person at the top after 72 holes wins.
STORYLINES: How will the first TOUR Championship with a staggered start play out? Will the front runner hold sway? Will someone from a long way back win it all? Will it take regulation to decide it or will we get a $15 million playoff? Can someone join Tiger Woods as a multiple FedExCup champion? Will we get a Bill Haas shot out of the water or a Rory McIlroy hole-out eagle on the way to crowning a champion? So much is ahead of us.
COURSE: East Lake Golf Club, 7,346 yards, par 70. Originally designed by Tom Bendelow in 1908 before being overhauled by Donald Ross soon after. The original home of the Atlanta Athletic Club it was here where Bobby Jones honed his craft as a youngster. In 1994, Rees Jones, son of the famed golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, restored Donald Ross’s original design after decades of decay. The first TOUR Championship came in 1998 before it became a permanent home in 2004. For those visiting the Atlanta area, must-play courses include Bear’s Best Atlanta (Suwanee, Ga.), the Fazio Course at Barnsley Resort (Adairsville, Ga.) and Heritage Golf Links (Tucker, Ga.). Explore your options at TeeOff.com.
72-HOLE RECORD: 257, Tiger Woods (2007).
18-HOLE RECORD: 60, Zach Johnson (3rd round, 2007).
LAST YEAR: We witnessed one of the truly great sporting moments. Having not won in over five years and coming off four back surgeries, the last a spinal fusion, Tiger Woods found his way to the top at East Lake. Paired with Rory McIlroy in the final round, Woods dismantled his younger counterpart and by the time he came to the 18th hole victory was assured. As such, the large crowd broke protocol, bursting through the ropes to mob Woods as he walked towards the final green. Swarms of fans flocked to any vantage point they could find as Woods put the finishing touches on his 80th PGA TOUR win. Earlier, Justin Rose successfully negotiated the same green in the two putts needed to secure the FedExCup and the then $10million bonus.
HOW TO FOLLOW
TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 1-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 2:30-7 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 12-1:30 p.m. (GC), 1:30-6 p.m. (NBC).
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 10:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. (featured groups). Saturday, 12:15-7 p.m. Sunday, 11:15 a.m.-6 p.m.