Words by Jason Butler – BGB
The PGA TOUR 2020 season reaches its climax this week as the top-30 in the money list gather to contest the FedExCup and its associated riches! For the second season running the PGA Tour will employ a staggered leaderboard. Current front-runner Dustin Johnson will start the week on ten-under par, two shots ahead of Jon Rahm who vaulted himself into second after winning the BMW Championship. ‘Dad-to-be’ Rory McIlroy returns to East Lake Golf Club to defend a title he won for the second time last year. No player has ever won the FedExCup three times and if Rory is to rewrite history he will have to overcome a seven shot deficit.

East Lake Golf Club has been home to the TOUR Championship for the past 15 years and first held the event back in 1998. The layout which measures 7319 yards and plays to a par of 70 this week, was designed by Tom Bendelow and opened its doors in 1908. In the ensuing years Donald Ross undertook an overhaul before Rees Jones returned it to its former glory in the 1990s. The layout is a classic tree-lined course that places an emphasis on accuracy off the tee and iron precision, the greens are larger than average and players will look to take advantage of the par-fives that rank as the least threatening on Tour.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy fired a closing four-under par 66 to secure a second TOUR championship by a four shot margin, and with it a second FedExCup. The Northern Irishman was tracked by Xander Schaeuffele – himself a winner of the event back in 2017 – but the American disappointed with a closing 70 for a final total of 14-under par. Justin Thomas joined Brooks Koepka in third a shot further back on 13-under, with Englishman Paul Casey making up the top-five on nine-under par.

Winner – $15,000,000 (THB464,657,000)

Webb Simpson is returning to action after sitting out the BMW Championship. He starts four shots off the pace at six-under par and recent history at the East Lake layout – three top-five finishes in seven starts – shows that he has the game to make an impact this week. His three wins on Tour this campaign came pre-lockdown, but his recent form – two top-tens at his last two outings – show he has picked up where he left off.

The man with all the momentum is Jon Rahm. The big Spaniard will be brimming full of confidence following a spectacular finish that secured a second Tour title at last week’s BMW Championship, and with it a second spot on the FedExCup rankings. The win means Rahm starts in striking distance of the man he pipped to the post, and without the added pressure of being top seed.

The newly ’beefed-up‘ Bryson DeChambeau has a game well suited to the East Lake layout. He will have to overcome a six shot margin if he is to reel in Dustin Johnson, but if anyone can, then Bryson can. Has one win on Tour since return to action – at the Rocket Mortgage Classic – and despite finishing tied fourth at the PGA Championship, his recent returns have been sketchy. A missed cut at The Northern Trust and 50th place at the BMW Championship, could however be a prelude to some Bryson magic!


Tiger Woods holds the tournament record at 257 in 2007
Zach Johnson holds the 18-hole record of 60 (R3) in 2007