Sarah Stirk on the Tour Championship: Big-hitting will drive DJ to FedEx glory
Sky Sports' Sarah Stirk first covered this event 10 years ago and her experience of the big one tells her that Dustin Johnson can land the tournament and the £10m prize for winning the FedEx Cup series...
"Sergio also loves a Donald Ross design and East Lake is one of his very best. Garcia is under the radar this week and will be keen to finish the PGA Tour season on a high after such a spectacular year."
I covered the inaugural Fed Ex playoffs back in 2007 and have witnessed year-on-year what a brilliant addition they have been to the PGA Tour's end of season. They've added plenty of drama and excitement and of course with the cool $10m dollar bonus up for grabs there is plenty of motivation for the players.
I also like the fact there's two tournaments in one, the Tour Championship title itself and the FedEx Cup trophy. The top-five in the points standings control their own destiny meaning if they win the tournament the FedEx prize will take care of itself.
But I quite like it when one of the top-five doesn't win and it comes right down to the wire after a maths calculation to see who picks up the bounty. Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Marc Leishman and Jon Rahm occupy the coveted spots.
I also think after an amazing season on tour we are in for plenty more drama this week and I think it's going to be a fitting end to things this week in Atlanta.
A trio of selections for the East Lake spectacular
Back Dustin Johnson to win @ [9.6]
I'm going with DJ to win the tournament itself and lock up the FedEx Cup. It's been an incredibly frustrating season since suffering that freak accident at the Masters but great to see him back to top form having secured the first playoff event. I also feel there's a huge amount of motivation to finish this season on high. After last year it almost seemed crazy to think DJ would finish 2017 without a major but the FedEx Cup would be the next best thing and set him up for a big 2018. Driving stats are usually key around here and in terms of distance and accuracy, Johnson is in a league of his own, especially with McIlroy not making the top 30. He's third in the FedEx standings and could finish as low as fourth and still win the cup, depending of course on how the other guys in the top five finish.
At 19th in the rankings Chappell needs to win and other results to go his way to land the FedEx but he looks a decent bet to take the Tour Championship. For example Spieth must finish T12th or worse, DJ must be in a three-way tie for third or worse, Leishman must be third or worse, Rahm must be in a three-way tie for second or worse and Fowler must be second or worse. Hope you followed that, it's always fun to keep up with the permutations! Chappell performed brilliantly here a year ago and now he has a PGA Tour win to his name, I definitely expect his name to feature heavily on this week's leaderboard.
Georgia is now Sergio's favourite state and I'm liking the Spaniard's chance this week. East Lake is a par 70 ball-striker's paradise and there aren't many better than Garcia. He also boasts an impressive record here having run Camilo Villegas close in 2008 and finishing top 10 in 2013 and 2014. Sergio also loves a Donald Ross design and East Lake is one of his very best. Garcia is under the radar this week and will be keen to finish the PGA Tour season on a high after such a spectacular year.