2018 Tour Championship Preview

By Ryan Watson

photo credit: the PGA Tour

The FedEx Cup Playoffs come to an end with this weekend’s 2018 Tour Championship, held at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club. The field is a scant 30 golfers, all that remains following the Northern Trust, Dell Technologies Championship and the BMW Championship from the original 125 FedEx Cup regular season points leaders. There are numerous storylines to the tournament, including whether or not Bryson DeChambeau can make it 3 wins out of 4 postseason events to claim the FedEx Cup outright.

TOUR Championship - Final Round
photo credit: Sam Greenwood

2017 Champion Xander Schauffele

The 2017 Tour Championship was won somewhat surprisingly by Tour rookie Xander Schauffele with -12. It was his second win of the season, however, it was not enough for Schauffele to claim the FedEx Cup. That honor went to runner up Justin Thomas, who finished in the final FedEx Cup standings a full 660 points ahead of his nearest rival. It was only the second time the Tour Championship winner did not also grasp the FedEx Cup, and the first time since 2009. Schauffle enters this tournament ranked 18th, meaning another Tour Championship win would also not guarantee FedEx Cup glory.

The best photos from the 15th hole at East Lake Golf Club from the 2016 TOUR Championship.
photo credit: the PGA Tour

Tournament Preview

Bryson DeChambeau has to be seen as the favorite given his impressive postseason form, winning both the Northern Trust and Dell Technologies Championship and retaining his number 1 ranking heading into the Tour Championship. However, any of the top 5 golfers could win the FedEx Cup outright with a victory, and the many permutations means we could also have another year where the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup winners are different. Joining DeChambeau in the top 5 standings are Justin Rose, Tony Finua, Dustin Johnson and 2017 FedEx Cup winner Justin Thomas. Another stat working against DeChambeau: No golfer entering the Tour Championship as the number 1 seed has won the FedEx Cup since 2009. In fact, DeChambeau would be the third golfer since 2012 to win 2 of the first 3 playoff events only to fail at the final hurdle. Mathematically ever golfer has the chance to take home the FedEx Cup, so golfers outside the top 5 such as Rory McIlroy and BMW Championship winner Keegan Bradley have a chance, but will have to rely on a win and other results going their way as well. Others to watch include 2-time FedEx Cup winner Tiger Woods making his first Tour Championship appearance since 2013 while everpresent Phil Mickelson makes his record 20th Tour Championship start. Aaron Wise, ranked 1 spot below Woods in 21st, is the sole rookie at the Tour Championship as he ends a fabulous first year that included his first tour win at the AT&T Byron Nelson.





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