2020 Tour Championship golf picks, odds, predictions, field grade, best bets at East Lake

The 2019-20 PGA Tour season comes to a close this Labor Day weekend with over $45 million on the table for the remaining 30 golfers at the Tour Championship. The second year of the staggered start (top players start farther under par) will still take some getting used to, but with the quality of golf we’ve seen of late, I don’t doubt this tournament is going to be tremendous (unless Dustin Johnson decides to gallop).

Let’s take a closer look at this week’s contest, with odds and prop bets provided via William Hill Sportsbook.

Event information

What: Tour Championship
When: Sept. 4-7
Where: East Lake Golf Club — Atlanta, Georgia

Three things to know

1. Top foursome: The quartet of Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa has won seven of the last eight events in which at least one of them was entered in the field. They start out at 10 under, 8 under, 7 under and 5 under, respectively, this week and will have a nice head start on nearly everyone in this tournament. Can their shared dominance continue at East Lake?

2. Baby McIlroy watch: Rory McIlroy, who has two FedEx Cups to his name, will start this week at 3 under, but he might not finish at all. His wife Erica is expecting, and Rory said last week at the BMW Championship that if the baby comes, he’s out.

“I’m going to play in many more Tour Championships,” said Mcllroy, “and it’s only going to be the birth of your first child once. That trumps anything else.”

3. A life-changer: For somebody like Mackenzie Hughes or Lanto Griffin, this week could be a big deal financially. Players like that have a chance to double or triple their career earnings by winning the $15 million first prize. Of course, they aren’t likely to come from eight or nine or 10 strokes back. But this week is about far more than just a trophy at the end of it all, especially for less-established players than stars like Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas (although I’m sure they wouldn’t refuse the $15 million either).

Grading the field

There are some monster names not in attendance this year. Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott and Tommy Fleetwood will all be watching from home. But as far as 30-man fields go, this one is great. The fact that the top three players in the world are the top three on the leaderboard make it that much better. Grade: A

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Leaderboard refresh

Remember, we’re not going to East Lake with a clean slate. The No. 1 player in the FedEx Cup standings — currently Dustin Johnson — will start at 10 under. Jon Rahm will start at 8 under and so on down the list. Here’s a look at the full leaderboard going in.

  • 10 under — Dustin Johnson
  • 8 under — Jon Rahm
  • 7 under — Justin Thomas
  • 6 under — Webb Simpson
  • 5 under — Collin Morikawa
  • 4 under — Bryson DeChambeau, Sungjae Im, Daniel Berger, Hideki Matsuyama, Harris English
  • 3 under — Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed, Brendon Todd, Sebastian Munoz, Xander Schauffele
  • 2 under — Lanto Griffin, Tyrrell Hatton, Tony Finau, Scottie Scheffler, Joaquin Niemann
  • 1 under — Abraham Ancer, Kevin Na, Ryan Palmer, Kevin Kisner, Marc Leishman
  • Even — Mackenzie Hughes, Billy Horschel, Cameron Champ, Viktor Hovland, Cameron Smith

Best bets

1. Rory McIlroy top five (+240): He absolutely crushes at this track, and you’re probably getting a discount because who knows what’s going to happen with a potential WD. If he plays, though, I think he’ll make up a ton of ground quickly. He was terrific for the first two rounds at the BMW Championship last week.

2. Justin Thomas Round 1 leader (7-1) or Webb Simpson Round 1 leader (16-1): If either Simpson or Thomas fires something in the mid-60s on Friday in Round 1, they only have to have two players (Rahm and Johnson) drop back to take over the lead on Friday evening. These are enticing numbers.

Tour Championship picks


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