2022 Tour Championship Picks, Predictions & Best Bets
Last week at the BMW Championship, Patrick Cantlay defended his title with a strong weekend showing, ultimately edging out Scott Stallings by one stroke on the final hole to secure his first solo victory of the season.
With that win, Cantlay became the first player to win the same playoff event in back-to-back years. The win propelled Cantlay five spots up the FedEx Cup standings to second overall which gives him a very realistic chance to repeat as the FedEx Cup Champion.
Perhaps the most jarring news of the week was Will Zalatoris withdrawing with a back injury and the Tuesday morning announcement that he is also not going to play this weekend either.
As far as bets were concerned, it was another great week on these pages as Jon Rahm made a weekend surge to finish T7 which cashed our top-10 best bet of the week and Rory McIlroy birdied the final three holes to backdoor his way into the top-10 as well making the BMW Championship the 20th profitable tournament of the season.
The Tour now moves to East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta Georgia this week for the final event of the FedEx Cup playoffs where the top 29 golfers in the world will compete for the coveted $18 million prize.
PGA YTD: 89.72u, +32.75% ROI
This week’s track is at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. It is a par-70 that measures in at 7,346 yards. It is a Donald Ross design that features plenty of water hazards as its name implies.
Like all Donald Ross courses, accuracy off the tee is paramount as the course features narrow fairways and penal rough. The bent grass greens have plenty of undulation and will be playing very fast, so we will be looking to back the elite ball strikers in the field. If the players want to compile birdies, accuracy with their approach will be a necessity this weekend.
The winning score without the staggered start is usually in the low teens, with Kevin Na and Jon Rahm shooting 14-under last year and Xander Schauffele shooting 15-under in 2020.
Tour Championship Unique Format
The Tour Championship only has a field of 29 players after Will Zalatoris withdrew. So, because of that there is no value in any of the derivative markets with a field this small.
This tournament also uses a unique staggered scoring format where the players start strokes under par based on their placement in the FedEx Cup standings. Scottie Scheffler will start the week at -10, followed by Patrick Cantlay at -8, Xander Schauffele at -6, Sam Burns at -5, and the other 25 other players will start at different staggered strokes back.
Will Zalatoris (Zalatoris has withdrawn due to injury)
Cameron Smith, Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Sepp Straka, Sungjae Im
Jon Rahm, Scott Stallings, Justin Thomas, Cameron Young, Matt Fitzpatrick
Max Homa, Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Spieth, Joaquin Niemann, Viktor Hovland
Collin Morikawa, Billy Horschel, Tom Hoge, Corey Conners, Brian Harman
K.H. Lee, J.T. Poston, Sahith Theegala, Adam Scott, Aaron Wise
It is a concept that is similar to the spread in sports betting, but from a betting perspective, I stay away from the handicapped market and prefer the market where the starting strokes do not apply.
When placing the bets, be sure to select the option that states “tournament winner without starting strokes.”
Rory McIlroy is about as frustrating as a player there is to bet on the PGA Tour. He was looking like he was on his way to running away with the BMW Championship last Thursday, playing flawlessly through the first 13 holes before he hit his approach into the water on 14 and scored a triple bogey in the process.
It was all downhill from there with him never in contention over the weekend and it took a truly miraculous final three holes for him to even backdoor his way into the Top 10. His lack of success wasn’t due to poor ball striking though.
He was the best player in the field last week in strokes gained tee-to-green at the BMW Championship — but he was atrocious on the putting greens losing over 5 strokes to the field which was his worst putting performance since March of 2021. That said, there is no player with better course history at East Lake than Rory who won in 2019 and has never finished outside of the top-7 here in his career.
Rory is not a great front runner as he tends to play too conservatively like we recently saw in his final round at The Open Championship but he is excellent when he is playing from behind and is forced to be more aggressive when chasing. That will be the exact dynamic he will be in this week starting six strokes behind Scottie Scheffler. He will know that he is going to have to step on the gas pedal from the jump.
Rory was the only player in Tour Championship history to start five or more strokes back and win. In fact, he won by four strokes that season — totally decimating the field over the four day tournament. If he can repeat his tee-to-green performance from last week and avoid more horrific putting, we love his chances to become the first golfer to win the FedEx Cup three times.
The best part of this bet is, he doesn’t even have to win the FedEx cup to cash this ticket, he just needs the lowest score over 72-holes. An aggressive Rory playing on a course that is a perfect fit for his game where he has won in the past is too hard to pass on, especially at 10/1 odds.
This season has been a big disappointment for the former number one Jon Rahm who only has one victory the entire season and it was at the Mexico Open which was a glorified Korn Ferry event. He finished T7 last week at the BMW Championship, but it was a deceiving finish as he never truly had a chance to contend.
That said, he was the best player in the field over the weekend shooting a 10-under without a single bogey. Rahm is a streaky player and we love the fact that he is firing on all cylinders coming into this tournament.
He is starting seven strokes back which may be too steep of a mountain for him to climb to win the FedEx Cup, but we don’t need him to win the tournament to win this bet — we just need him to post the lowest 72-hole total.
Last year he tied for the lowest 72-hole gross score and after gaining 7.73 strokes with his flatstick at the BMW Championship last week, Rahm just needs to repeat that hot putting and he is primed to repeat as the 72-hole lowest scorer in the season finale.
Our outright was looking promising heading into Sunday where he was in the final pairing with Patrick Cantlay, but he just couldn’t quite get things going enough to make a run during the final; round. Still, it was a solid T3 finish and Schauffele now heads to a course where he seemingly always plays well.
Xander Schauffele is always at his best in no-cut events with limited fields, and that is obviously the dynamic once again this week.
Schauffele is one of the rare players who are elite with both accuracy and length off the tee. He has no flaws in his game, ranking second in strokes gained on par 4’s, third in three putt avoidance, fifth in birdies or better gained and ball striking making him a perfect fit again this week at East Lake.
Schauffele has played in the Tour Championship five times and has four top-five results and has never finished worse than seventh place. He was also the 72-hole low score winner in 2020.
Given his course history and current form, there’s no reason not to include him on the card this week.
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