The Tour Championship Picks

Tournament: The TOUR Championship
Dates: September 20-23, 2012
Course: East Lake Golf Club
TV: The Golf Channel/NBC
By Evergreen of

Wow, the year has flown by and one of the longest seasons in professional
sports is about to come to an end as the players travel to East Lake for
the TOUR Championship. The TOUR Championship is the finale
of the FedExCup Playoffs and the top-30 point earners are all in attendance
and looking for the $10 million dollar top prize. While all thirty have
a mathematical chance at securing the overall championship, five men are
in control of their ultimate destiny and can win the FedExCup simply with
a win this weekend. Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson
and Brandt Snedeker would each win the Cup regardless of where anyone else
finishes while the remainder of the field needs help from the players ahead
of them. Of the players in that top-5, Tiger has two wins and four second
place finishes at East Lake and Phil Mickelson has two TOUR Championship

Bobby Jones made Augusta National the home of golf but East Lake Golf Club is where Jones learned the game and where he eventually played his last round. The 7,150 yard, par-70 layout hosted its first TOUR Championship in 1998 and has been the host venue every year since 2004. The course isnt overly difficult by Tour standards but does test players with fast, tricky greens. Birdies will be somewhat easy to come by if a player can figure out the speed of the greens and very low scores can be had, like the course record 60 shot by Zach Johnson in 2007. Most modern courses tend to stick very hard holes near the end of the round but East Lake is a bit different as the hardest hole comes at #5 with a 520-yard par-4. Number six is another test as the 209-yard par-3 routinely plays over par so that stretch could shake up the leaderboard through the weekend. The 18th is odd in that there are not that many par-3 finishers on Tour and the 235-yard hole plays as the most difficult par-3 and the second most difficult hole overall.

Each week, we take a look at the betting sites and highlight a few players that we think can win it all. We make a short, middle and long odds pick to win and tell you why that player is a good bet. We typically make some head to head match picks but the books are a bit late in posting this week, so check with them later and feel free to roll with our picks to win in head to heads this week.

Short Favorite: Dustin Johnson (16 to 1 odds to win) Aside
from the individual winners in the playoffs so far, DJ has clearly had the
best overall playoff performance with T-3, T-4, and T-6 finishes. He hasnt
had the most success at East Lake recently, but that could change this week
simply based on how hot he has been. Everyone knows how long Johnson is
off the tee but he has developed a pretty strong overall game with top-60
ranks in greens hit and strokes gained with the putter. That is a nice mix
for a bomber and has produced the 16th best birdie average along with a
top-10 scoring mark. Dustins scrambling has been as good as it has been
so his mistakes arent derailing his rounds. Johnson is among the group
that needs a win and help to take the Cup so he can free-wheel a bit and
be aggressive knowing that some bogies here and there arent really going
to hurt him this week.

Middle of the Road Pick: Louis Oosthuizen (25 to 1 odds to
win) Double-O is another hot playoff performer with two top-5s in the last
three starts and is a cumulative 34-under over those starts. Louis probably
has the best overall stats sheet outside McIlroy and maybe Tiger with top-10
marks in greens hit, total driving, ballstriking and the all-around. There
isnt a real weakness in his game so all that remains to be seen is how
and how fast he can adjust to the East Lake greens. Oosthuizen is such an
easy-going player that the big stage doesnt affect him and he usually plays
his best when the stakes are the highest.

Longshot Pick: Hunter Mahan (50 to 1 odds to win) Unlike
the other two picks, Hunter is most certainly not on a hot streak. Mahan
has recorded a missed cut, a T39 and a dead last 70th place finish in three
playoff starts but he does have East Lake figured out to some extent and
nearly won here last year before losing in a playoff. It is not an overstatement
to say that Hunter is the best in the field this week tee to green with
top-10 marks in fairways and greens hit alongside the 2nd best overall ballstriking
mark. The putter has been spotty for Mahan and he is prone to going on long
runs without a birdie but when he is rolling them in, he usually wins. With
only thirty in the field this week, the long odds guys get a bump in value
as you dont have to worry about 80-something other guys getting hot and
having a career week. Mahan probably cant win the Cup even with a victory
so its time for him to go all out and try to win and send the season out
in style.

Good luck!