I'm rather bummed that the 2015-16 PGA Tour season is ending this week at the Tour Championship. It has easily been my best season in picking winners as I hit on No. 6 (if you include my casual Olympic pick) last week with Dustin Johnson taking the third leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs, the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick in Indiana.
Johnson took a three-shot lead over Paul Casey into Sunday and shot a 67 to finish at 23-under 265 and three shots up on Casey. DJ took control of the tournament with a second-round 63 and his worst day was a 68 on Saturday. It was Johnson's third PGA Tour win of the year -- his first season with more than two -- and jumped him to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup points standings. It was the seventh time in his career Johnson held the 54-hole lead in a 72-hole event and the third time he converted that lead into a win. DJ deserves to be first in the points with a whopping 14 Top-10 finishes this year in 21 tournaments. Johnson is probably the guy to beat for the PGA Tour Player of the Year, although that could depend on who wins this week. Jason Day also has a strong claim.
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Johnson went off as the +850 third favorite at Bovada last week. I also got him at +165 for a Top 10 and +500 as top American. Also liked Adam Scott for a Top 10 and he was T4 to pay out at +125. Also hit him at +140 as the top Aussie. Rory McIlroy was my third Top-10 guy, but he was T42.
So the Top 30 in the FedEx Cup points advance to East Lake for the season-ending Tour Championship. Every player in the field is mathematically alive to win the $10 million FedEx Cup. Those in the Top 5 -- Johnson, Patrick Reed, Scott, Day and Casey -- will win the FedEx Cup by taking the tournament. Four players fell out of the Top 30 at Crooked Stick, meaning four got in. Those falling out were Rickie Fowler (by one stroke), Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka and former FedEx Cup champion Henrik Stenson, who didn't play at Crooked Stick due to injury but would have this week if he made it. The four jumping into the Top 30 were Roberto Castro, Daniel Berger, J.B. Holmes and Charl Schwartzel. Castro made the biggest jump, going from 53rd to 21st.
I won't go through how every player in the field can win the FedEx Cup. Johnson probably will with a Top-5 finish except if obviously one of the other Top 5 guys wins. Schwartzel, at No. 30, would need to win, have Johnson finish no better than 29th and then get certain other finishes from the other four guys in the Top 5. McIlroy, at No. 6, could win the Cup by finishing second this week but would need a bunch of help.
Defending FedEx Cup winner Jordan Spieth is seventh and has to win and have Johnson finish in a three-way tie for second or worse and Reed to finish T2 or worse. Spieth did win this tournament last year. He shot final-round 1-under 69 to finish at 9 under and win by four shots. Stenson, Danny Lee and Justin Rose all finished second. Since the Tour Championship was made part of the playoffs in 2007, no player has won it twice.
Incidentally, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III will make his final captain's pick for the team after this tournament and at halftime of Sunday Night Football on NBC. On Monday, Love added Holmes, Fowler and Matt Kuchar to the eight players who automatically qualified for the team at the end of The Barclays. I'll be surprised if it's not Bubba Watson or Jim Furyk. Bubba's in the field in Atlanta.
Golf Odds: Tour Championship Favorites
Johnson is the +400 favorite at Bovada. Tiger Woods (2007, 2009) and Billy Horschel (2014) also won the BMW Championship before going on to win the FedEx Cup championship. Johnson was T5 at 4 under last year in Atlanta. He was also T5 in 2013 (Johnson didn't play in 2015). McIlroy is +550. He was 16th last year and second the year before. I guess I'm not hugely surprised he struggled a bit last week after finally winning this season the week before.
Day (+800), Scott (+1000) and Spieth (+1000) round out the favorites. Day withdrew last week with a back injury through eight holes of the final round after tweaking the back while putting a tee in the ground on the ninth hole Sunday. It was just precautionary, but I'm not very confident in him this week now. Day has three Top 10s in this event his decade, led by a fourth in 2014. Scott's fourth-place finish last week was his third straight T4 on the PGA Tour. He was ninth here the last time he played in 2014 and won in 2006. Spieth was T9 last week and also was a runner-up in Atlanta in 2013.
Golf Odds: Tour Championship Picks
There will be limited props this week because the field is so small and there's no cut. You can bet on who wins the FedEx Cup, with Johnson the +200 favorite and Day and McIlroy at +450. It's already been a good week for Day, back aside, as he reportedly signed an apparel deal with Nike for $10 million a year. Day will stay with TaylorMade for clubs and golf balls.
I'm going to go with Casey to win the tournament at +1400 and FedEx Cup (+1000). Last week's runner-up was his second straight in these playoffs and he has been fifth and fourth in Atlanta in his two trips. He will be the first Englishman to win the Tour Championship.
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