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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Tour Championship Preview

We have three big events on three tours coming up this week, so I'll be taking these next three days to look at each. Today... the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour.

The FedExCup

Let's cut straight to the chase. Here are the 29 players who made it to East Lake (Dustin Johnson was #30 but isn't playing):
  1. Chris Kirk
  2. Billy Horschel
  3. Bubba Watson
  4. Rory McIlroy
  5. Hunter Mahan
  6. Jimmy Walker
  7. Jim Furyk
  8. Matt Kuchar
  9. Rickie Fowler
  10. Jason Day
  11. Jordan Spieth
  12. Adam Scott
  13. Sergio Garcia
  14. Martin Kaymer
  15. Zach Johnson
  16. Bill Haas
  17. John Senden
  18. Patrick Reed
  19. Cameron Tringale
  20. Russell Henley
  21. Morgan Hoffmann
  22. Webb Simpson
  23. Ryan Palmer
  24. Kevin Na
  25. Geoff Ogilvy
  26. Justin Rose
  27. Brendon Todd
  28. Hideki Matsuyama
  29. Gary Woodland
Notably missing from the list is defending champion Henrik Stenson, but that tends to be the standard story. I believe 2012 winner Brandt Snedeker is the only winner ever to make it back the next year.

On the outside chance you don't know, the Top5 (in boldface type) will win the FedExCup outright if they win the Tour Championship. The others can win if other players finish in the proper combination of positions... which means that you need a Nobel Prize in mathematics to calculate Gary Woodland's chances of winning.

But historically, the worst starting position for a winner was #19 -- again, Brandt Snedeker in 2012. [CORRECTION: Bill Haas was #25 the year he won.] Everybody from #20 on down better hope for that mathematics genius.

PGATOUR.com has done a Power Ranking that favors McIlroy, Furyk, Fowler, Horschel, Spieth, and Watson in that order to win the event. (No word on who they expect to win the Cup, but since they favor McIlroy to take the tournament...) If you've got a pool going at work, this link should give you the info you need to guess who might be the hottest player this week.

Personally, I like Rickie Fowler or Billy Horschel to win this week. Horschel is on a hot streak and Fowler's been on one for a couple of months now, and both are putting lights-out. I particularly like that both are avoiding the big scores. And because I like Horschel to figure in the tournament, I guess that makes him my most likely choice to win the Cup since he's #2 going in.

GC's coverage starts Thursday at 1pm ET (I suppose the pregame show will start earlier) and then NBC picks it up on Saturday.

That's one preview. Tomorrow... the ladies are up.

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