Tour Championship Preview
The Tour Championship is the final tournament in the FedEx Cup play-offs. There is a 10 million dollar bonus for the player who has earned most points at the end of the series. Rory McIlroy is leading the current standings and would win the huge bonus if he were to win the Tour Championship.
McIlroy has won the last two FedEx Cup play-off events and three of the last four tournaments he has contested on the US Tour. He won the US PGA Championship by eight shots and now has two major championships to his name by the age of 23. Statistically and on current form McIlroy is the best player in the world and is playing at the height of his powers.
However, it’s worth noting that the courses on which he has played well in the last few weeks have been ideally suited to his game. The PGA Championship and FedEx Cup tournaments have been played on courses that are above average in length even by modern standards. McIlroy has length of the tee combined with better than average accuracy, hence his recent domination.
The East Lake course in Atlanta that hosts the Tour Championship for the ninth year in succession is relatively short. There is more of a premium on accuracy off the tee than distance. Players must place their tee shots carefully in order to make it easier to find the sloping greens with their approach shots.
The course features do not rule out McIlroy but other players are more suited to the layout. Tiger Woods is second in the FedEx Cup standings and he scores better than McIlroy for accuracy statistics. While McIlroy has been winning tournaments, Woods has put together a fine run of consistent form. He has finished in the top four in two of the three play-off tournaments.
This is the first year in which Lee Westwood (pictured) has contested the play-offs. He has now moved to the States and is committed to the US Tour. He believes this will give him a better chance of winning that elusive first major championship. Westwood has all the attributes for East Lake and he can still win the bonus. He has to win the Tour Championship and hope McIlroy, Woods and Nick Watney finish down the field in order to receive the huge cheque on Sunday afternoon.