Dustin Johnson Closing In on the Fedex Cup ⏤ TOUR Championship

Fantasy Golf

East Lake1

The season-long Fedex Cup points race concludes this week with the season-ending TOUR Championship staged outside of Atlanta, GA at the famed East Lake Golf Club. The field includes the top thirty players on the Fedex Cup points list as of the end of last week's BMW Championship. Their point totals have been accrued since the first event of the 2019-2020 wraparound season almost a year ago at The Old White TPC and each player's position on the points list will determine their starting position on the leaderboard at this week's TOUR Championship. Nearly $60 million in bonus money will be handed out at the end of this event--with $15 million going to the winner and another $9 million distributed between the second and third place finishers. Even those who finish last in the field this week will receive a bonus of at least $100,000.

Unlike every other PGA TOUR event where all players start on level footing at even par, the field this week will begin with staggered scores based upon their position in the Fedex Cup points list. The current points leader (Dustin Johnson) will begin the TOUR Championship at a score of -10 while the 30th place player on the points list (Billy Horschel) will begin the week ten shots behind at even par. Jon Rahm (who is second in points) will start at a score of -8 while the third place player (Justin Thomas) will start the week at a score of -7. The next two players (Webb Simpson and Collin Morikawa) will start one and two shots back behind respectively before each successive group of five players is bunched up a shot behind them. The winner of the event (and thus the Fedex Cup) will be the player who finishes with the lowest score inclusive of the pre-tournament adjustment to the leaderboard.

The historic East Lake Golf Club will play host to the drama this weekend. The venue was the former home of Bobby Jones and was originally designed by Donald Ross, but the course that will face the PGA TOUR players this week has a lot of Rees Jones' fingerprints on it in the wake of his 1994 restoration of the facility. The green were converted from bentgrass to Bermuda back then and the Bermuda roughs that surround them will present the players with a stern challenge when they miss the course's tricky greens. 

The par-70 layout will look a little different this week as compared to the 51 weeks a year of member play as the nines have been reversed to maximize the drama coming down the closing stretch. Two key holes to watch out for in particular include the par-three fifteenth hole and the par-five eighteenth. These two holes represent the best chance for big swings on the leaderboard, but for very different reasons. The fifteenth is a dangerous one-shot hole that plays some 200 yards over the property's large lake to an island green. Double bogeys are not uncommon here as the wind swirling around the lake can make the hole particularly vexing. The other swing hole will be the last as it's a short par-five that plays mostly downhill from the tee. The player who shapes his tee shot correctly can find the speed slot that will allow him an iron second back up the hill towards the greensite. Eagles are relatively common here and a player who comes to the last one shot back could easily walk off the golf course a winner in regulation.

Thanks to the a combination of the score adjustment and the play that led to his ascent atop the points list, Dustin Johnson starts the week as a heavy favorite (+200) to win the event. He blew the field away at the Northern Trust by eleven (!) shots and was narrowly defeated last week by Jon Rahm (the second favorite at +300) to finish runner up in the only other Fedex Cup playoff event. Both of those players are located in Group A this week and both are strong candidates for selection from that group, but our recommendation would be to go with Johnson as his play these last two weeks has been truly remarkable. He'd be a great pick even without the score adjustment, but with it he seems like an obvious choice.

Group B includes the next crop of contenders and the play of Hideki Matsuyama last week cannot be ignored. Webb Simpson will start the tournament in the fourth position and he merits some consideration as well. Collin Morikawa seems to have an iron game that would suit this golf course well, but questions remain about how sharp he's been post-PGA Championship title. Group C's two hottest players are Tony Finau and Daniel Berger, but the two-shot edge that Berger starts with might be enough to settle any close call you might have when deciding who among them to roster.

An edge will go to the fantasy contestants this week who closely look at the starting leaderboard. It's critical to note how wide a spread you may start with depending on which player in a group you select. Some of those gaps are as wide as six strokes (Dechambeau is in Group A and starts six behind DJ) and at this level there is so much parity between the players that it might be unpalatable to give away that kind of edge.

Here are our selections for the week:

Group A (Dustin Johnson)

Group B (Webb Simpson)

Group C (Tony Finau)

Group D (Kevin Kisner)

Group E (Harris English)

Group F (Scottie Scheffler)