TOUR Championship 2014

Prize Fund – $8,000,000TOUR

Winner’s Share – $1,440,000

Course – East Lake GC (7,154 yards par 70)

Here we are ladies and gentleman, the end of another season on the PGA Tour.  It’s been a crazy year with several first-time winners (there’s been 10 different nationalities to have won a PGA Tour event this year which is quite some going!), Rory McIlroy reminding us that he has the potential to be one of the greatest, Tiger Woods reminding us that his injuries may halt his path to ultimate greatness and whilst for us, it’s been topsy-turvy to say the least.

We’ve had 4 winners on the PGA Tour throughout the year which isn’t the greatest number, but the amount of placings/close shaves has been ridiculous.  26 bets have got a place and therefore healthy returns (considering there have only been 37 tournaments on the PGA, we are certainly happy with that!), but when you think we have had 11 2nd placed finishes, you can’t help but feel it could have been so much better.

But onto this week and as is usual with the end of a PGA season these days, the pressures of a bucket load of money and the prestigious accolade of FedEx champion still need to be resolved.  $10 million is up for grabs for the golfer that finds themselves at the top of the overall rankings and The Tour Championship only contains 30 players who can obtain that accolade.  The current top 5 – Chris Kirk, Billy Horschel, Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy and Hunter Mahan – have destiny in their own hands as if any of them win here, whatever the weather, they will be crowed champion.  You will hear the commentator bang on about this ‘destiny’ many times throughout the 4 days and whilst it might frustrate the folk in Europe, Americans get a right buzz off situations like this.

This course will make someone very rich. Or just richer... Courtesy of theaposition.com

This course will make someone very rich. Or just richer… Courtesy of theaposition.com

For the remaining 25, it is only likely that the players up to 11 can win the overall prize due to the ridiculous mathematical stipulations, but never have we had such an open and intriguing end to a FedEx.  Genuinely, 11 players are in the hunt for that massive bonus, but obviously things have to go their way.  If you fancy looking at the FedEx Cup leaderboard, take a peak here – Leaderboard

There are markets for overall FedEx Cup winner and they may be worth a look at, because of how open it is this year, we certainly have and will explain in detail later.

It is also worth taking a look at the points available for this week – Reset Points

There is no denying how complicated it all is, but at the end of the day we can leave all the permutations up to the mathematicians because there is still a golf tournament to win for all of us.  Due to the small field, odds are horrendously slashed and finding value is virtually non-existent, but as you will see, we hope we feel we’ve got a great mixture of everything in our picks.

The course itself is East Lake in Atlanta, Georgia and has held the season finale since 2004.  The 7,307 yard par 70 will provide a tough test for the field and is often regarded as a ball strikers paradise.  It was the home to the legendary Bobby Jones and you will need to be right on your game from tee to green to win.  Finding the right positions on the fairway is a must because the more you can attack pins the better.  The greens are historically rapid and with the added pressure to earn a vast one-off fortune, putting will be of great importance.

In recent years you have often found that an obvious ‘story’ has won here and the overall FedEx – last year Henrik Stenson with his chance to be the first player to win both the FedEx and the Race To Dubai, in 2012 Brandt Snedeker overcoming his ‘bottle’ demons and in 2011 Bill Haas finally breaking out of his fathers shadow.  We feel it will be no different this year and our first 3 picks certainly reflect this…

TwitterDon’t forget to follow us throughout the week on Twitter @downthe18th for the latest news, betting + banter. Please get in touch and let us know what you think of our picks and who you fancy as well!
Rickie Fowler (14/1 various and 18/1 for the FedEx Cup with StanJames)

Focused - courtesy of golfweek

Focused – courtesy of golfweek

It may not be fair to call Rickie Fowler the young pretender because he is the same age as Rory, but due to how much more established the Northern Irishman is, you can see our point.  He has switched coaches to the miracle worker that is Butch Harmon and wow has he reaped the rewards.

Fowler has had an outrageous end to the season.  Since a missed cut at the Memorial back in June he is gone on a run that has seen him record a remarkable 6 top 10s and the other 2 finishes came inside the top 30.  All 4 Major Championships have been top 5 performances as well, meaning the only thing left, is a win.  We would be the first to say if we felt some of his near misses have been bottles, but in all honesty we haven’t seen that.  He has often been beaten by the better man on the day or had the odd stroke of luck go against him.

Tee to green he has been ridiculously effective, especially with his length and there are few better scramblers around at the moment.  It will be an important factor we feel this week because of the tree-lined fairways and difficult greens and if you wanted anyone over an up and down shot, it would be Fowler.

He stands at 9th in the overall rankings and is 1,683 points behind Chris Kirk, which gives him every chance of winning if he gets that bit of luck and wins here.  You can see the headlines and see the story if Rickie wins – it just makes too much sense.

Jim Furyk (12/1 various and 16/1 for the FedEx Cup with StanJames)

Come on Jim...

Come on Jim…

Oh Jimbo.  Here we are again and we cannot express how much it would makes us happy to see him lift the trophy this week.  Like Fowler, the story makes complete sense if he were to win – an amazingly consistent season but no wins on the board and several bottles throughout, but finally he enters the winners circuit to bag himself a cool $10 million.

10 top 10s and 3 times a runner up prove how well he’s played this year, but those 2nd placed finishes also show how close he has come and in so many respects, how many times he should have won.  Five top 8s in his last 7 starts warrant the low odds he’s been given but the fact that he is one of the few with outstanding course form makes him even more appealing.

In his last 9 starts here, he has 6 top 10s, including that magnificent victory back in 2010 which won him the overall prize.  It is also, madly, the last time he lifted a trophy and with the way he’s been playing it would be a travesty if he were unable to break that streak.  We all know what he does tee to green – when on form there are few better, but it has often been his putting thats let him down.  Yet we have seen him go on mad birdie binges, reminiscent to an alcoholic finding themselves in a Weatherspoon’s.

He is currently 7th in the overall, just 1,241 points of the top and there is truly every chance he could win.  If he can get himself over the line and maintain form throughout the four days, he has every chance.

Jordan Spieth (20/1 PaddyPower, 33/1 for the FedEx Cup with StanJames)

Could he sneak it?

Could he sneak it?

Another young pretender in Jordan Spieth.  One of the finest talents in the sport and his future will bring several Majors, no question.  He has one of the finest all-round games on Tour and you cannot help but think that his attributes suit this course perfectly.

He is incredibly long and straight, whilst his consistency with his irons has made him such a threat, both short and long.  We have predicted that there will be many shots with a short iron or wedge into the greens and Furyk, Fowler and Spieth are all magicians close to the green.  The latter has to deal with many short pitches due to his length and when he gets on the greens he can also be deadly.

Consistency is what Spieth specialises in and whilst he did have a ‘slump’ (all be it a slump that many, many Tour players would be ecstatic with), he found some form again with a T8 finish last week.  That will give him plenty of confidence going onto a course where he’s only played once, but he did finish T2 at last year.

Honestly, he was never going to catch Henrik Stenson who was different gravy for those few months in 2013, but 4 cracking rounds make you think he has every chance here.  He is 11th in the overall rankings and 1,797 points behind the lead, meaning he is probably the last person who can really win the FedEx.  33s represent great value in that market because if he does win and other things go his way, he will be in a great position.

Outsiders

Hideki Matsuyama (50/1 Boylesports)

Perfect fit for the course

Perfect fit for the course

Hideki Matsuyama is the 3rd player in our picks who has everything to go ridiculously far in the game.  His manufactured tools are so consistent and tee to green he’s got it all.  A positive start to the season has faded slightly, bot picking up a top 10 in his last 10 appearances is not good enough for someone of his calibre, however he hasn’t been playing awfully and a cheek T20 last week was just enough for us to go there here, especially at the cracking value for an outsider.

50s is a big price for someone who can easily win in this sort of field.  You can draw similarities to Muirfield Village with East Lake and obviously the Japanese star played outstandingly to record his first PGA Tour victory there this year.  He was inside the top 20 for putting and GIR last week, so he can’t be playing badly, if he can put it all together, then this is genuinely cracking odds.

John Senden (70/1 various)

John Senden has had a very decent season, finally showing the world what talents he has.  5 top 10s and a win throughout the year and his tee to green exploits made us chuck our remaining change on the Australian.  When he’s been up there on leaderboards, it has been on these sort of courses, where an all-round game is required.  He will be very accurate and his putting has consistently been inside the top 20 in the past few outings.  T5 a couple of weeks ago show that his form hasn’t dipped and he has even recorded a T10 here a few years back.

You are not getting value like 70s for a player of Senden’s quality in this field. Trust us.

Let us know your thoughts on our selections and who you fancy this week! @DownThe18th

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