The First Look: TOUR Championship
August 29, 2021
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Dustin Johnson’s winning highlights from the 2020 TOUR Championship
The PGA TOUR’s 2020-21 season will wrap up at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta with the thrilling finale to the FedExCup. The top 30 golfers in the FedExCup standings at the conclusion of the BMW Championship will once again be vying for the ultimate prize in golf.
This is the third year of the TOUR Championship’s Starting Strokes format which sees players start between 10 under and even par depending on their positioning.
FIELD NOTES: The final field has been set after a dramatic end to the BMW Championship, the second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs, with the winner Patrick Cantlay ranked No. 1 in the FedExCup standings… THE NORTHERN TRUST winner, Tony Finau, is ranked second… Bryson DeChambeau who lost to Cantlay in the playoff at the BMW Championship will enter the week in the third spot, with Jon Rahm and Cameron Smith rounding out the top 5… The defending FedExCup champion, Dustin Johnson, will qualify for East Lake for the 13th year in a row – the longest active streak… Johnson is also defending his title at East Lake… Veteran Stewart Cink will earn a spot at East Lake for the first time since 2009. Cink won twice this season. His victories (Safeway Open, RBC Heritage) were his first on TOUR since that 2009 season when he won The Open Championship… Rory McIlroy sat on the bubble but comfortably qualified for East Lake, giving him the chance to become the first three-time FedExCup winner… Erik van Rooyen and Sergio Garcia made the jump into the top 30 to make the TOUR Championship.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives the FedExCup.
COURSE: East Lake Golf Club, par 70, 7,346 yards. The storied club has hosted the TOUR Championship since 2005, meaning all 14 FedExCup champions (2007-2020) have been crowned there. Originally designed in the early 1900s by Tom Bendelow, Donald Ross re-worked the course not long after while Rees Jones helped restore the original design in 1994.
STORYLINES: It all comes down to this. Cantlay starts the week at 10 under, giving him a two-shot margin over Finau… The starting numbers continue to drop from there. The No. 3 seed starts 7 under, No.4 at 6 under, and No. 5 begins at 5 under. From there groups of five drop a shot at a time. So, Nos. 6-10 start at 4 under, Nos. 11-15 are 3 under, Nos.16-20 2 under, Nos. 21-25 1 under and finally Nos.26-30 start at even… The last two FedExCup winners have started 1st and 5th, respectively… The winner receives the coveted trophy and a $15 million bonus… No one has defended their title at East Lake since 1998… Steve Stricker will also announce his six captains picks for the U.S Ryder Cup team following the event.
72-HOLE RECORD: 257, Tiger Woods (2007).
18-HOLE RECORD: 60, Zach Johnson (3rd round, 2007).
LAST TIME: Dustin Johnson finished at 21 under for the week and defeated Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele by three shots to win his first TOUR Championship – and first FedExCup. Thomas, a past FedExCup champion, shot rounds of 66-66 on the weekend but it wasn’t enough to overtake Johnson, who shot rounds of 64-68 to hold on to the No .1 spot in the FedExCup standings. Schauffele made a spirited move up the leaderboard (he started the week in 14th, seven shots back of Johnson) but fell just short. Jon Rahm, who started the week in second place, couldn’t bounce back from a second-round 74 and finished fourth. Scottie Scheffler ripped up the standings from No. 17 to 5th. Johnson bogeyed Nos. 7 and 8 on Sunday to open the door a crack to his competitors but stayed steady through the back nine, adding a birdie on the par-5 18th to close out the season. He finished the Playoffs going 1-2-1.
HOW TO FOLLOW (All times ET)
Television: Thursday-Friday, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2:30 p.m.-7 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 12 p.m.-1:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 1:30 p.m.-6 p.m. (NBC)
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Groups). Saturday, 12 p.m.-2:30 (Featured Groups), 2:30- 6 p.m. (Featured Holes). Sunday, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Featured Groups), 1:30 p.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Holes).
Radio: Thursday-Friday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio).
TOUR Pulse: Get the PGA TOUR app to utilize TOUR Pulse, which provides users the ability to experience a mix of content, such as video highlights, written hole summaries and stat graphics on every player after every hole they complete.