Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: US PGA Championship: FedEx Cup Playoffs

US PGA Championship: FedEx Cup Playoffs

 We honestly thought it was over after Johnson caressed the ball in on the 18th, thereby extending it to a playoff  But the occasionally volatile Spaniard responded with a putt of Tiger proportions to claim the title. Watching the top two ranked players in the world duke it out in overtime was perhaps the highlight of the sporting year for me. Now the players regroup for the closing salvo of this heavily truncated 2019/2020 campaign.  

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

FedEx Cup Playoffs
The Tour Championship
East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia
3rd-7th September 

Watching the stunning resumption to last week’s BMW Championship late Sunday night reminded me of watching Game of Thrones in its prime. My brother and I were on the edge of our seats as Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm put on a putting masterclass. I honestly thought it was over after Johnson caressed the ball in on the 18th, thereby extending it to a playoff. But the occasionally volatile Spaniard responded with a putt of Tiger proportions to claim the title. Watching the top two ranked players in the world duke it out in overtime was perhaps the highlight of the sporting year for me. Now the players regroup for the closing salvo of this heavily truncated 2019/2020 campaign.

Tom Watson actually won the very first edition of the Tour Championship back in 1987 (when it was originally known as the Nabisco Championship). While initially considered a success, the Tour Championship started to dwindle in significance around the turn of the century. Players never saw the value in playing some glorified exhibition event after such a long, competitive season. That’s when FedEx came in and really revolutionized the US PGA Tour, creating a playoff series to reward the season’s best players. The FedEx Cup was born in 2007, with the playoff series initially consisting of four events. Since then, the Dell Technologies has been done away with, making for a more streamlined three-event climax to the golfing season.

The real complications arose with how the FedEx Cup should be awarded. The first two were essentially damp squibs, with Tiger and Vijay reaching the Tour Championship with unassailable leads. Then the organizers went ahead and tweaked it, incentivizing the top five in the FedEx Cup standings with an easier path to the title than the remaining 25. It all got a little Moneyball, with outrageous permutations making for a confusing spectacle. So, the organizers decided to create a system that wouldn’t result in a split decision. Last year saw the inception of a handicap system that really divided the crowd. Below is a summation of the scores allotted to those competing this week.

D Johnson -10
J Rahm -8
J Thomas -7
Webb Simpson -6
Colin Morikawa -5
D Berger, H English, B DeChambeau, S Im, H Matsuyama -4
B Todd, R McIlroy, P Reed, X Schauffele, S Munoz -3
L Griffin, S Scheffler, J Niemann T Hatton, T Finau -2
K Kisner, R Palmer, K Na, A Ancer, M Leishmann -1
C Smith, V Hovland, M Hughes, C Champ, B Horshcel even par

It makes sense: give the players who have played most consistently the better shot of winning the title.  But to me it just takes the sting out of the event. Imagine Hovland was to shoot four rounds of 64, only to lose the event by one shot to Johnson or Rahm. There’s also something obscene about the money at stake, something that McIlroy alluded to last year. This has only been exacerbated by Covid.

Past Winners 
2019: Rory McIlroy 
2018: Justin Rose
2017: Justin Thomas 
2016: Rory McIlroy
2015: Jordan Spieth

Betting Favourites (To Win)
Dustin Johnson (7/4)
Jon Rahm (11/4)
Justin Thomas (11/2)
Webb Simpson (11/1)
Collin Morikawa (20/1)


Betting Favourites (To Win not counting starting handicap): 
Dustin Johnson (5/1)
Jon Rahm (11/2)
Rory McIlroy (10/1)
Justin Thomas (10/1)
Xander Schauffele (11/1) 

Webb Simpson
To Win Outright (11/1), Starting Strokes do not count (14/1)

I think that Webb Simpson- a two-time PGA Tour winner this season- represents decent value for both the outright FedEx Cup win and overall stroke-play victory. He will enter the week at 6 under, just four shots adrift of DJ. With only three players ahead of him, 11/1 looks great value for the outright FedEx Cup prize. Firstly, he has the advantage of not playing last week- which should have him feeling pretty energized ahead of this event. He’s 1st on tour this season in Birdie or Better percentage.  He also sits 2nd in stroke differential field average. Remember the way he blitzed the field at the 2018 Players Championship, ultimately winning by four shots. He’s got it in his locker to overcome a deficit.

Jon Rahm
To Win Outright (11/4), Starting Strokes do not count (11/2)

Of the two big guns who duelled last week, I’m opting to side with Rahm as the possible FedEx Cup Champion this week. Having said that, I think there’s much better value in playing him to win regardless of the handicap at 11/2. Rahm has been driving as accurately as ever and has those lag-putts down to an art. I think that last week’s last-gasp heroics against DJ will have done his confidence the world of good. Last week’s event resembled a Major Championship in every way, and boy was Rahm up to the challenge.  He also has the ultimate incentive in knowing that he would reclaim the World Number One spot were he to win here.  He was also 4th here after 54 hols before ‘TigerMania’ set in.

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