Tour Championship: Spieth to win it all

Webb Simpson can go well at East Lake thinks Dave
Webb Simpson can go well at East Lake thinks Dave

After a 45/1 winner with Marc Leishman last week, Dave Tindall provides his best bets for the FedEx Cup finale - the Tour Championship at East Lake...


"In eight starts in Georgia, combining four Masters and four Tour Championships, the 24-year-old has two wins and two second places so it's a part of America where he absolutely comes alive."

Main Bet: Back Jordan Spieth @ 5.59/2

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 5 places


Main Bet: Back Jordan Spieth win only @ 9/2


He may be a pretty short-priced favourite but a 9/2 winner is never to be sniffed at and I just can't get away from Jordan Spieth at this week's FedEx Cup finale at East Lake.

For starters, he's a course and distance winner having captured this title in 2015 to achieve the dream scenario of holding aloft both trophies - glass in one hand (Tour Championship) and metal (FedEx Cup) in the other.

And, of course, there was the little matter of landing the $10million bonus that goes to the winner of the season-long FedEx Cup points race.

Along with all his other attributes, Spieth also seems very adept at leaving something in the tank for this time of year.

He was runner-up on his very first Tour Championship appearance in 2013 and so far during the 2017 Playoffs he's finished second at both The Northern Trust and Dell Technologies Championship before closing with a 65 for tied seventh in last week's BMW Championship.

Pacing himself is huge and Spieth admits he didn't get it right 12 months ago, the self-mismanagement revealing itself in a rather lacklustre T17 here at East Lake.

Reflecting on that at the BMW, he said: "It's a grind physically and mentally. I've done a better job this year versus last year.

"Last year I didn't putt as well and was a little tired and this year I feel like I've done a lot better job resting and recovering to kind of have my legs ready for East Lake."

As for his 65 which secured his place as No.1 seed for the Tour Championship, he added: "It was a round that could have been extra special. That was really important today to go out and shoot a low round. Obviously that was kind of my goal today, to maintain the No.1 position, and we'll go into East Lake really trying to win the golf tournament and trying not to focus on anything else."

One other element is Player of the Year.

Spieth rates the award highly and, as if winning two trophies and a $10million jackpot wasn't enough, it's another factor to motivate him.

Justin Thomas has five wins, including a major, and must be favourite at it stands but Spieth could still change the script.

"I think I have to win the tournament to be Player of the Year or at least have a chance to be Player of the Year and that's our MVP, that's the most important award," he said last Sunday.

"If you look at accolades that are read off when you're done playing golf, you go this many Majors, this number of times Player of the Year and then this many wins."

Spieth, of course, has huge claims having scored an epic victory in the Open Championship after looking beaten and, prior to that, takings victories at Pebble Beach and the Travelers Championship.

On the stats this season, he's ranked 1st for Scoring Average, 1st in the Money List and also 1st in Strokes Gained: Approach-The-Green.

It's that latter stat which makes Spieth really scary. We all know what a sensational putter he is, so if his irons are better than everyone else's he's very, very hard to stop.

In eight starts in Georgia, combining four Masters and four Tour Championships, the 24-year-old has two wins and two second places so it's a part of America where he absolutely comes alive.

With Dustin Johnson still showing inconsistency, Rory not here, Jon Rahm making his tournament debut, Justin Thomas taking a step back last week and Rickie Fowler not having the same killer instinct, Spieth is quite simply the one they all have to beat.

Back him win only at 9/2.


Next Best: Back Justin Rose 'Betting W/O Spieth' each-way @ 12/1


In a week where a player can walk off with two trophies if everything goes their way, it's also possible to land a double win as a punter thanks to Betfair's 'W/O Spieth' market.

My dream scenario therefore is a Spieth win, with Justin Rose finishing runner-up.

It's only a two-point difference - 12/1 without Spieth compared to 14/1 with - so, as I'm so keen on the favourite, this looks a great to get a full payout on Rose being best of the rest.

So much is about momentum at this time of year and while plenty of the field are going the wrong way, the Englishman is coming on strong.

After limping through the last three majors (MC-54-MC), Rose admitted he'd been making a few swing changes to alleviate some back pain.

But what really seems to have given him some late-season spark is an equipment readjustment.

At the first FedEx Cup Playoff event, The Northern Trust, he said: "I'm playing beautiful golf. That's as good as I hit my irons all year long.

"I made a little tweak to them last week. Went back to the flex shaft that I used a couple years ago, and that along with a couple of things that I worked on with Sean (Foley) have really helped.

"Yeah, I hit virtually every iron shot for two days exactly where I was looking and that doesn't often happen."

Rose finished T10 there and matched that finish at The Dell Technologies.

It felt like something big was brewing and he really kicked on again with second place to the unbeatable Marc Leishman at the BMW Championship last week.

Looking at his stats, Rose was 1st for Greens In Regulation (79.2%) and 1st for Scrambling (86.7%) and that powerful combination is ideal for East Lake.

You'd fancy backing him anywhere at the moment but this tournament must rank amongst his favourites given recent visits.

Rose didn't make it last year but in the previous four years finished 2-4-6-2.

"I really enjoy this golf course. You really need to do everything well to score around here," he said two years ago so finishing second (BMW) and fourth (Dell Technologies) on the All-Around in the last two FedEx Cup Playoff events shows his game is in ideal shape to make an impression.

Those two second places at East Lake add to a pair of runners-up finishes at nearby Augusta National so playing Rose 'without Spieth' makes extra sense given that he's been the nearly man so many times in Georgia.

It's stating the obvious to say that Spieth would out-putt him if the two were locked together coming down the stretch so I'm convinced this is the best market for Rose this week.

Of the other short-priced candidates, Jason Day has really found something in the last few weeks so would be my next cab off the rank in the sub-20/1 shots.

Paul Casey should go well but fourth or fifth seems to be his ceiling both here and in most events so 16/1 outright or 14s without Rose looks short enough.

Marc Leishman did us a huge favour when winning at 45/1 last week but he led from gun to tape and I fancy that would have taken a lot out of him.


Final Bet: Back Webb Simpson 'Betting W/O Spieth' each-way @ 33/1


I'll stay in the 'without Spieth' market and finish off with a punt on Webb Simpson at 33s (he's 40s with).

As the each-way terms are still 1/5 1,2,3,4,5 with Spieth taken out, a top six finish for Simpson gets us in the money.

From both a course and current point of view, that seems a very attainable goal.

The former US Open winner has played East Lake four times and finished fourth (2013) and fifth (2012) in two of them.

His final rounds in those two events were 63 and 66 so he can excel when the pressure is on and the bonus fund dollar signs are appearing before the eyes.

The American returns this year in his most consistent form of the season after reeling off three top 10s in his last four starts.

Two of those have come in the Playoffs, with T6 at The Northern Trust (73-66-71-65) and T9 at last week's BMW Championship (66-73-65-68).

He's been in the top 10 for Driving Accuracy in his last three events - something which counts for more than normal on this classic track - and he's scrambling well too.

"Very hungry to win again, very hungry to compete week-in, week-out regularly," he said at the Wyndham so there's no sign of his foot coming off the pedal despite the rigours of a long and hard season.

"What about his putting?" is the usual Devil's Advocate response after telling someone you're backing Simpson but he was actually ranked 1st for Strokes Gained: Putting at the BMW last week and also gained 2.42 strokes on the field at The Northern Trust and 5.71 (10th that week) at the Wyndham.

In other words, he must surely be carrying more confidence on the greens that he has done for a while.

Kevin Chappell, who contested the three-man play-off here on his debut last year, was the other player I considered outside of the top bracket but, at 22/1, he's 11 points shorter than Simpson in the 'without Spieth' market and I don't rate their chances that differently.

Further down the betting, I quite like Gary Woodland at 60/1 given his positive past course experience which shows top 10s in both 2016 and 2014.

He shot 63-67 on the weekend three years ago and 69-67 last year so if the big-hitting, two-time PGA Tour winner gets off to a better start he could be dangerous.

However, I expect the elite names to dominate, with DJ, Thomas and Rahm all likely threats to my chosen front two of Spieth and Rose while Simpson can hopefully get in amongst it too.


Dave's 2016/17 PGA Tour P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £1250
Returned: £2459.89
P/L: +£1209.89

(After the BMW Championship)

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