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Golf betting tips: Preview and tips for the 2021 Tour Championship

The Tour Championship is the final event of both the PGA Tour season and the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Since 2004, East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta has been the event’s permanent home.

The tournament is contested by the Top 30 golfers in FedEx Cup points following the BMW Championship.

By merely advancing to the elite field in Atlanta, the 30 qualifiers already know that they are exempt into three of the four majors, some invitationals and the WGC Mexico Championship.

Since 2019, the Tour Championship features a strokes-based system called the FedEx Cup Starting Strokes. The FedEx Cup points leader after the first two Playoff events will begin the tournament at -10, the No. 2 player will start at -8, the No. 3 player at -7 under, the No. 4 player at -6 and the No. 5 player at -5. Players 6-10 start at -4, players 11-15 start at -3, players 16-20 start at -2 under, players 21-25 start at -1 and players 26-30 start at even par.

The player with the lowest aggregate score over 72 holes when combined with his FedEx Cup Starting Strokes will win the Tour Championship and also be crowned FedEx Cup Champion.

Prior to the FedEx Cup Starting Strokes it was possible for one player to win the Tour Championship and another player to win the FedEx Cup.

YearTour Championship WinnerFedEx Cup Winner
2018Tiger WoodsJustin Rose
2017Xander SchauffeleJustin Thomas
2016Rory McIlroyRory McIlroy
2015Jordan SpiethJordan Spieth
2014Billy HorschelBilly Horschel
2013Henrik StensonHenrik Stenson
2012Brandt SnedekerBrandt Snedeker
2011Bill HaasBill Haas
2010Jim FurykJim Furyk
2009Phil MickelsonTiger Woods
2008Camilo VillegasVijay Singh
2007Tiger WoodsTiger Woods

Course Overview

The host course is the 7,300+ yards Par 70 East Lake Golf Club. The course was originally designed by Donald Ross and later restored by Rees Jones in 1994. East Lake Golf Club is the home course of legendary golfer Bobby Jones and is the oldest golf course in the city of Atlanta.

The layout is a fair test of golf and with an elite field of just 30 players it is hard to find a formula that points towards a winner. There is no one statistic that jumps off the page and therefore the obvious applies – a player needs to be hitting fairways, greens and sinking lots of putts.

East Lake’s key challenge is on the greens and in particular grinding out pars. Those who putt well on the undulating Bermuda greens will prosper. Current Form is important and fatigue may be a factor for some players.

2017 Tour Championship | Xander Schauffele

In 2017, a 23 year old Xander Schauffele carded a score of -12 (268) for the week to land the title and add to the Greenbrier Classic which he won in July that year. He shot a final round -2 (68) to finish one stroke ahead of Justin Thomas.

Schauffele became the first PGA Tour rookie to win the Tour Championship since it began in 1987.

Xander Schauffele
SG Category
Strokes GainedFinishing Position
(SG Category)
SGOTT4.5891
SGAPR0.28715
SGARG3.5903
SGP1.06713
SGT2G8.4652

Schauffele’s game from the tee was exemplary topping the pile in Strokes Gained Off-The-Green. This yielded a gain of 4.589 strokes or almost 50% of his overall strokes gained on the field average for the week. His game from inside 30 yards from the edge of the green was also on point. He finished 3rd in Strokes Gained Around-The-Green which produced a gain of 3.590 strokes or almost 38% of his overall gain. Other stats for the week include 5th in Driving Distance, T9 for Driving Accuracy, 6th for Greens in Regulation and T14 in Putts per GIR.

2018 Tour Championship | Tiger Woods

In 2018 Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship and in doing so securing a remarkable 80 PGA Tour wins. It was his first victory since the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational. Tiger closed with a final round +1 (71) to win by two strokes from Billy Horschel.

Justin Rose birdied the final hole to finish tied for fourth at -6 (274) and win the FedEx Cup. Had Rose missed the putt and finished a further shot back of Woods, Tiger would have won both the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup.

Tiger Woods
SG Category
Strokes GainedFinishing Position
(SG Category)
SGOTT1.9046
SGAPR1.15614
SGARG1.2869
SGP5.1212
SGT2G4.3457

Tiger had a solid week tee-to-green finishing 7th in the Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green (4.435 strokes) category. However, it was his stellar putting that delivered the majority of his strokes gained on the field average for the week. He finished 2nd in Strokes Gained Putting which yielded a gain of 5.121 strokes. Other stats for the week include T3 for Driving Accuracy, 13th for Driving Distance, T14 for GIR and 1st for Putts per GIR.

2019 Tour Championship | Rory McIlroy

In 2019, Rory McIlroy won the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup title for the second time having won both previously in 2016. He closed with a final round 66 to finish on a total -18 (267), four strokes clear of Xander Schauffele in second.

It was the Northern Irishman’s third win of the season following victories in the PLAYERS Championship and Canadian Open. McIlroy started the tournament 5 shots back of Justin Thomas based on the FedEx Cup Starting Strokes.

Rory McIlroy
SG Category
Strokes GainedFinishing Position
(SG Category)
SGOTT5.3141
SGAPR3.1879
SGARG2.4672
SGP2.16511
SGT2G10.9681

McIlroy’s game tee-to-green was a ball-striking master class topping the pile in the Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green category. Tee-to-green he gained almost 11 strokes on the field or 83.51% of his overall gain. In particular he drove the ball long and well finishing 1st in the Strokes Gained Off-The-Tee. He also finished 1st for Birdies racking up a total of 20. Other stats for the week include T3 for Driving Accuracy, 8th for Driving Distance, T5 for GIR and 2nd in Putts per GIR.

2020 Tour Championship | Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson
SG Category
Strokes GainedFinishing Position
(SG Category)
SGOTT1.9097
SGAPR1.24711
SGARG2.5654
SGP0.94512
SGT2G5.7223

Tour Championship Winning Formula

The following table details the Average Strokes Gained in each of the key strokes gained categories for the past four champions of the Tour Championship.

SG CategoryWinner’s Average
Strokes Gained
Average Finishing
Position (SG Category)
SGOTT3.4294
SGAPR1.46912
SGARG2.4775
SGP2.32510
SGT2G7.3753

Graphing the above Average Strokes Gained gives a visual check on the likely key areas required for success at this week’s Tour Championship.

2021 Tour Championship Starting Strokes

STARTING STROKESPLAYER
-10Patrick Cantlay
-8Tony Finau
-7Bryson DeChambeau
-6Jon Rahm
-5Cameron Smith
-4Justin Thomas, Harris English, Abraham Ancer, Jordan Spieth, Sam Burns
-3Collin Morikawa, Sungjae Im, Viktor Hovland, Louis Oosthuizen, Dustin Johnson
-2Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na, Brooks Koepka
-1Corey Conners, Hideki Matsuyama, Stewart Cink, Joaquin Niemann, Scottie Scheffler,
Even parDaniel Berger, Erik van Rooyen, Sergio Garcia, Billy Horschel, Patrick Reed

Tour Championship Tips

Tony Finau golf betting tipsTony Finau 7/1 (E/W) – the smart money will be on Cantlay, Rahm or The Scientist this week, but where is the fun in that? The best value looks to be with Finau. An established regular at East Lake, he has teed it up in each of the last four years so will be well familiar with the course nuances. Arriving in stellar form with a win in the Northern Trust and a T15 in last week’s BMW Championship. Statistically well balanced, he places 10th in this week’s Stats Analysis. He is also 9th on Tour for Scoring Average. Two ‘biggish‘ reasons for selecting the big hitter from Utah. One, he is only two strokes back of Cantlay and two, no more ‘monkey-on-his-back‘ thanks to his recent victory. With nothing to lose, he can freewheel and has the game to get it done.

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