Schauffele worth a wager at controversial Tour Championship

Profile Picture: Tommy Raymond

August 20th, 2019

The 2018-19 PGA Tour season will end Sunday, when the winner hoists the trophy for the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. The club is not only known for this tournament but also as the home course for the legendary Bobby Jones, who captured golf’s Grand Slam in 1930. Jones later helped found Augusta National Golf Club just up the road from East Lake.

Tour Championship odds: Winner with FedEx Cup starting strokes

This version of the Tour Championship will begin with a staggered scoreboard, which means the leader in the points race, BMW Championship winner Justin Thomas, will start at 10-under par. Patrick Cantlay is at 8-under, Brooks Koepka is at 7-under and so on. Those two and each player in turn must make up strokes on Thomas, all the way to the last five, who are at even par.

Don't expect a Tiger sighting

Last year at East Lake, Tiger Woods earned his first PGA Tour win in five years. A year later, and he isn’t in the field. Even with a win at the Masters, it wasn’t enough. He didn’t perform well enough when it mattered in other tournaments and didn’t play enough, either.
The winner here will receive $15 million to go along with a five-year Tour exemption.

This isn’t without controversy, however. Should the winner of a FedEx Cup event receive 2,000 points, as opposed to 600 for a major and get the same exemption? Would one rather have a green jacket or a FedEx Cup title? That’s rather obvious.

PGA is placing too much emphasis on playoff events

In the abstract, I’m opposed to this much emphasis on playoff events. There should be more points for majors, perhaps even an equal amount, but the Tour has to look at its bottom line as well. Starting in 2007 the Tour did what it considered best to generate some form of interest after the PGA Championship ended in August, beginning the FedEx Cup. Something with a lot of money had to fill the vacuum once the majors concluded. Only a hefty bunch of cash would get the stars to play, so this strategy I agree with wholeheartedly.

As for the staggering start, what we will see in the end is one winner, unlike last year, when we saw Woods capture the tournament, while Justin Rose won the FedEx Cup at the same time. I’m normally a traditionalist on these matters but am still willing to wait it out to see how this works.

Xander Schauffele is worth a wager

There also is wagering without the starting strokes, and one player I like in this category is Xander Schauffele, whose form at East Lake has been tremendous. He won the Tour Championship two years ago and finished in a tie for seventh last year.

Schauffele has two wins in this long season, is 13th on Tour in strokes gained total, and in eight rounds at East Lake, he’s failed to break 70 only once. With his current odds of +2075, I’ll take a chance.

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