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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My "5 to Watch" at the Tour Championship

Welcome to the culmination of the 2017 FedExCup race, aka the Tour Championship.

The FedEx Cup

You know the score -- East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta GA, 30 players, Top5 automatically win the Cup with a tournament win, $1.89mil to the tournament winner, $10mil bonus to the FedExCup winner.

Okay. Without further ado, here are my "5 to Watch" this week:
  • Jordan Spieth is a no-brainer here. He's won the Tour Championship and the Cup before (2015), and he's #1 in FedExCup points going into the week. He's also gone runner-up, runner-up, T7 in the first three Playoff events. Hard to bet against a man like that.
  • Likewise, Justin Thomas is almost a no-brainer. He's been a bit inconsistent lately, but he's #2 in the points list and he won the Dell Technologies Championship, the second Playoff event. Not as big a favorite as Jordan, but you can't sleep on him because he's too good when he's on.
  • Rickie Fowler... he's #6 on the list and yet I'm not quite sure what to make of him. He's too good not to make this list, and too unpredictable for me to make him my pick this week. But I wouldn't fault anybody who did pick him to win. If he can find one good week of properly controlled aggression, I think he gets it done.
  • Justin Rose hasn't played the way I think a solid #8 should. Until last week, I wasn't sure he would make this list at all. But I saw signs at the BMW that he has rediscovered the form he lost after the Masters. If I'm right about that, he could easily shock the field with a win this week... and yet it wouldn't really be a shock at all.
  • And my flier is... Marc Leishman. I know what you're thinking -- how does the #4 guy rate being a flier? He caught fire at the Dell, where he came in second, then won the BMW last week. Yet I feel he's a bit of a dark horse who turned a corner in his career at the Dell. It's been difficult for players to turn in a winning performance the week after a win. (Witness Justin Thomas's T47 at the BMW.) But if his putting continues, he could spoil a whole lot of parties this week.
And my pick is... Leishman. Despite the number of things I see that seem to be against him, I can't shake the feeling that he's on the verge of doing something big. And while that "something" might be a record performance at the Presidents Cup, I see no reason that he couldn't use the Tour Championship as a warm-up for that Cup as well.

The Tour Championship coverage begins Thursday at 1pm ET on GC. And given the way this season has played out, I think we could see something really special this time.

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