The PGA Tour wraps up in Atlanta this weekend as the Tour Championship decides who takes home the FedEx Cup and a cool $15 million. The field is limited to only the top 30 golfers in the FedEx Cup standings after last week’s BMW Championship, won by Justin Thomas. Thomas will be the main to beat after his victory catapulted him to number 1 in the FedEx Cup standings thanks to the changed format.
picture courtesy: Atlanta MAgazine
2019 marks the first year of the Tour Championship’s new format. In previous years, the Tour Championship was a normal tournament that awarded FedEx Cup points, meaning that it was possible to have a different FedEx Cup Champion and Tour Championship winner. This occured as recently as last year when Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship but Justin Rose, who finished tied for 4th at the event, finished as FedEx Cup winner. This year, the winner of the Tour Championship will be crowned FedEx Cup champion. However, an advantage is still given to golfers based on their FedEx Cup standings prior to the tournament. The biggest advantage goes to the top-5, with number 1 starting at -10, number 2 at -8, number 3 at -7, number 4 at -6 and number 5 at -5. Then golfers ranked 6-10 start at -4, 11-15 at -3, 16-20 at -2, 21-25 at -1 and golfers 26-30 starting at even par.
Given the rule change, the overwhelming favorite is Justin Thomas, who is starting a full 2 strokes behind his closest rival and 6-10 strokes behind 5/6 of the field. The golfers closest to him are Patrick Cantlay, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy, and it is likely that the winner will come from those 5 golfers. There is still plenty to play for with million dollar payouts extending to 8th and the tournament looks like it will still be competitive despite it's odd format. Indeed, many golfers will be playing with their shackles off, knowing that they have nothing to lose by “going for it”. One golfer to keep your eye on is Sungjae Im, who despite not winning on the Tour this year is the only rookie to qualify for the Tour Championship and appears to be on course for Rookie of the Year honors.
photo courtesy: PGA Tour
Television coverage is provided by the Golf Channel and NBC. Thursday and Friday coverage is on the Golf Channel 1-6pm ET. Saturday starts on the Golf Channel 1-2:30pm ET before switching to NBC 2:30-7pm ET. Sunday coverage starts 12-1:30pm ET on the Golf Channel before ending on NBC 1:30-6pm ET. Streaming coverage is available through PGA Tour Live, available through NBC Sports Live. Radio coverage is also available through PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM and PGATour.com .