2015 Tour Championship by Coca-Cola Picks + Predictions, Plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

Happy Tour Championship week ladies and gents, which sadly means that it’s the final event of the season and we’ll be free from PGA Tour golf for…a whopping 3 weeks.  And oh yeah, a little biennial competition called the Presidents Cup falls into that “offseason” stretch as well.  So anyhow, after this week it’ll be adios for a couple weeks, then right back at it to kick off the new season.

The Tour Championship returns yet again to East Lake GC, which is historic, venerable and frankly a little boring.  With no attempted stabs towards the Ponte Vedra suits, I for one would like to see this event rotate around the country, like the fellow FedEx Cup Playoff events the Barclays and the BMW Championship do.  Even if it’s only a 3 or 4 course rota, it’d just add a little more intrigue to see it somewhere other than Bermuda-y + par 3 finishy East Lake.  Just my two cents.

With Jason Day’s rout at the BMW Championship, marking his second victory in the past three events, he has the FedEx Cup Playoff trophy all wrapped up…he is at the top of the FedEx Cup points heap headed into East Lake; however, due to the massive points increase for the final event, anyone in the top 5 takes home the FedEx Cup Playoff trophy with a win.  So pedal-to-the-medal for not only Jason Day, but Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson as control their own destiny so to speak this week as a win gets them the hardware and the whopping $10 million annuity that goes with it.  Those outside the top 5 also have a chance to win the title, but will need some help from the top 5 along the way.

Last week at the BMW Championship my picks failed to produce, as my Lockzilla’s Jordan Spieth had the best finish at t-13th, with the rest finishing outside the top 25.

Now, let’s hop into some picks for this week:

LOCKZILLAS (Last Week: Spieth t-13th, Reed t-28th)

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy
– Remember him?  You know, the guy who took the golfing world by storm last year by winning both the British Open + PGA Championship, escalating to his world #1 perch for nearly a year.  Well, after a little soccer mishap, Rory is finally beginning to strike the ball like he did during his run of dominance, and just one thing remains- his putting.  Last week at the BMW Championship at Conway Farms, Rory looked uncomfortable, awkward, confused and dismayed at nearly every putt that he struck…and he still finished t-4th.  If he putts well, he will win (or finish 2nd to red hot Jason Day).  If he doesn’t putt well, he’ll still finish top 8 in this limited field no-cut event.  Rory is a no-brainer play this week.

Matt Kuchar
Matt Kuchar
– When I was a young kid living in Kansas City, I was a huge Royals fan and one of my favorite players was Brett Saberhagen. Brett had an odd stretch of having highly successful years on the mound every other year for 8 straight years–in odd years he was lights out (in ’89 he went 23-6 with a 2.16 ERA!), but in even years he was a complete dud.  It was so bizarre that even Wikipedia notes this statistical rarity.  What does Brett Saberhagen have to do with Matt Kuchar?  Well, nothing really, except that I like both of them and Kuch seems to be having a Saberhagen-like record his past few tourneys, as he’s alternated top 12 finishes in every other start dating back all the way to the U.S. Open…and this week, is yep, you guessed it, is following one of the “other” weeks as he finished t-41st last week at Conway Farms (he played far better than that and only finished so high due to his final round 75).  Get ready for another top 10 this week from the Georgia Tech grad who has an ever-lasting love fest for East Lake.

SEMI-FLIER (Last Week: Kisner t-41st)

Harris English
Harris English
– This lanky Georgia native finally qualified for this elite field for the first time, as he painfully was clipped out by finishing 31st and 32nd in FedEx Cup points in ’13 + ’14 respectively.  He’s a cut-making machine, which doesn’t matter this week in the sense that it’s a no-cut event, but it does matter in the sense that he’s one of the most consistent players on Tour, as you have to go all the way back to the PLAYERS Championship in May as the last time that he had a weekend off.  Coming off of finishes of t-12th and t-19th the past two FedEx Cup Playoff events, I expect him to make the most of his first Tour Championship in his home state and notch a comfy top 10.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Rickie t-4th)

Steven Bowditch
Steven Bowditch
– A career season to be sure for the Aussie, but despite a bevy of top 25 finishes, his inconsistency has returned the past few weeks.  Couple that with zero East Lake experience and yep, steer clear of Bowditch this week.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last Week: Knox t-45th)

JB Holmes
J.B. Holmes
– Hard to believe that this is the basher’s first Tour Championship appearance, as he comes in on the heels of a mighty solid t-4th at Conway Farms last week, his first stroke play top 20 since his victory at the Shell Houston Open way back in April.  Call it an extra dash of bold this week with his zilch in the East Lake experience column, but if there’s one thing that we’ve learned about J.B. over the years, it’s that when he heats up it’s time to pounce.  Oh yeah, and don’t leave out the fact that he’s still a bit spurned from that Presidents Cup captain’s pick semi-snub (he was 12th on the points list).  J.B. Holmes is your Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play of the week!

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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