There is a lot on the line this week, and a ton of storylines. Jason Day is now the number one golfer on the planet. His win last week at the BMW Championship moved him into top spot, making him the third player this summer to be named number one in the world. Both Spieth and McIlroy are hoping to take the spot back this weekend at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, but if Day continues to perform the way he has been of late, it is unlikely we will see anyone but him on top of the rankings come Sunday evening.
Day’s win last week was his fifth this season, and his fourth in his last six starts. It wasn’t too many weeks ago that anyone would have considered giving the 2015 Player of the Year title to somebody other than Spieth, but with the recent win, Day is now very much in the conversation. While he’s flattered, Day does not yet feel like he’s done enough to deserve such recognition.
“We can’t deny what Jordan has done in the major championships this year,” Day stated Sunday. “...I still think it’s him. But I’m hoping that I can go and win next week and get people talking about it a lot more.”
A win this week would not only get people talking, it would make Day the FedEx Cup champ, and ten million dollars richer. History has shown that winning the Tour Championship is almost always required in order to claim the cup, as the last five champions have won at East Lake. The last player to become FedEx Cup champion without claiming the Tour Championship was Tiger Woods back in 2009 when he finished second to Phil Mickelson.
Making this weekend that much more exciting is the fact that each of the 30 players making it into this week’s field do in fact have a mathematical chance to claim the FedEx crown. With that said, Harris English who was the final player to qualify for the event, could win, but he would need to win at East Lake, and would need Jason Day to finish at best second last. As you move up the rankings however; player chances become increasingly realistic. Hideki Matsuyama, for instance, is currently ranked 15th in the points race. For him to be named FedEx Cup champion, he would need to win this week’s event, need Day to finish T9 or worse, and the other players ranked in the top-5 to finish outside the top-4 this week. To look at this from a different angle, Jordan Spieth enters the week ranked second. If he finishes the event outside of the top-5, chances are slim that he will claim the cup. All this is to say, that the FedEx Cup is up for grabs, and it is likely going to take winning the Tour Championship to claim the crown.
Let’s take a look at who I believe are primed to have a big week, as well as my DraftKing lineups.
Jason Day - Four wins in his last six starts. Just claimed the number one, and looking to qualify it this week. No one is even close to playing as well as he has been.
Jordan Spieth - Showed last week that he was back in form after missing his previous two cuts. His performance in the majors this year have revealed that bigger stakes bring out the best in his game.
Henrik Stenson - Runner-up in first two playoff events (The Barclays & Deutsche Bank) and T-10 last week. Only two years removed from winning the FedEx Cup by claiming Tour Championship. Battled a sore hand last week at BMW.
Rickie Fowler - Followed up win at Deutsche Bank with T4 finish last week. Playing the best golf of his career and has continued to show over the past two seasons that big stages don’t bother him.
Justin Rose - Has finished at seven under par each of the last three years at the Tour Championship which has been good enough for T4, 6th & 2nd. His consistent performance on this course, as well as his play this year in big events makes him a great fantasy pick for the week.
Rory McIlroy - Since returning from injury, his short game has not quite been up to the standard we are used to seeing. If he figures it out this week it is very reasonable to believe that he would claim the Cup, as well as possibly return to number one in the world rankings.
Bubba Watson - If he wins this week, he will win the FedEx Cup. Has been consistently putting himself in positions to win over the past couple of months, making him a player to keep an eye on. Has not always played this course well, but did finish T5 in 2012.
Jim Furyk - Has finished inside top-10 twice in last three years (T2 in 2014 & 7th in 2012) and won this event in 2010 when he became the FedEx cup champion. A terrific fantasy pick due to his history at East Lake, but keep a close eye on him as he pulled out of last week’s event with a wrist injury.
Zach Johnson - Steady play in first three playoff events (T13, T22, T4). Looking to carry final round 64 last week at BMW into Tour Championship. Needs to win or at least finish second to have chance at FedEx Cup. Has performed inconsistently on this track in past, finishing T7 in 2013, but over par in both 2014 and 2012.
Hideki Matsuyama - Coming off T7 finish last week at Conway Farms to go along with T25 & T13 finishes in playoffs. A very consistent performer who cooled off a bit in August, but seems to be returning to form. Currently sits 15th in points race. For a chance at the cup, needs to win this week, have Jason Day finish outside top-9, and remaining players in top-5 finish around 5th or worse.
And now let’s take a look at the DraftKings lineups I will be fielding for this week’s Tour Championship.
Jason Day - $12,500
Justin Rose - $9,800
Brooks Koepka - $7,300
Jimmy Walker - $6,900
Sang-Moon Bae - $6,800
Steven Bowditch - $6,700
Justin Rose - $9,800
Bubba Watson - $8,700
Zach Johnson - $8,500
Matt Kuchar - $7,800
Paul Casey - $7,500
JB Holmes - $7,400
With my first team I’m taking both Day despite the high price tag. I can’t envision a stellar fantasy performance this week without having the winner in the lineup, and Day is definitely the favourite. I’m thankful I was able to draft Justin Rose in there with him, for Rose has played well at East Lake each of the last three years. In order for this lineup to pay off, I’m going to need big weeks from the rest of my picks. My hand was forced into taking Bae and Bowditch due to their low draft value, but they are in the Tour Championship for a reason, so solid performances are not out of the question.
I took a conservative strategy with my second team. I’ve taken Rose again in this lineup because I like his value at $9,800. As I look at the remaining players, they have all been playing well as of late. If the top-4 in the FedEx Cup standings cool off a bit this week, I see this lineup having a ton of potential.
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About the Author
This article was written by Jonathan Carr (@jonathanwcarr) as part of our weekly #FantasyGolf series. Each week we preview the upcoming PGA Tour event and highlight some of the players we'll be keeping an eye on. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a keen eye for what it takes to be successful on and off the golf course. His passion for golf is surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family. Read some of Jonathan's other articles here.
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