Weekly Preview: TOUR Championship

Weekly Preview: TOUR Championship

This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.

TOUR Championship

East Lake GC
Atlanta, GA

The PGA Tour heads to Atlanta as another campaign comes to an end.

To say this season has been unlike any other would be an understatement. The PGA Tour has been under siege over the past few months, and we still aren't quite sure how this will end up. LIV Golf continues to grab PGA Tour players, but they've yet to get any one player that could persuade the really big names to defect. They have a decent stable of players as it stands, and they look to be growing, but I've yet to run into anyone that's actually interested in watching the golf. It's like the only interest in this league lies within how many quality players they can grab from the PGA Tour, the fact that they are actually playing golf on that tour seems of no interest to most people, which is odd, to have a golf league, that's paying its players millions of dollars and almost no one is actually interested in watching them play. Whether that is what finally kills this league is yet to be determined, but it's bound to be an interesting fall as the LIV is not going away any time soon. 

Now, back to the golf. This week we have the TOUR Championship, otherwise known as Frankenstein's monster. I'm not fond of what they've done with the artificial strokes and perhaps they'll revamp the format as part of their "LIV response package", but for

TOUR Championship

East Lake GC
Atlanta, GA

The PGA Tour heads to Atlanta as another campaign comes to an end.

To say this season has been unlike any other would be an understatement. The PGA Tour has been under siege over the past few months, and we still aren't quite sure how this will end up. LIV Golf continues to grab PGA Tour players, but they've yet to get any one player that could persuade the really big names to defect. They have a decent stable of players as it stands, and they look to be growing, but I've yet to run into anyone that's actually interested in watching the golf. It's like the only interest in this league lies within how many quality players they can grab from the PGA Tour, the fact that they are actually playing golf on that tour seems of no interest to most people, which is odd, to have a golf league, that's paying its players millions of dollars and almost no one is actually interested in watching them play. Whether that is what finally kills this league is yet to be determined, but it's bound to be an interesting fall as the LIV is not going away any time soon. 

Now, back to the golf. This week we have the TOUR Championship, otherwise known as Frankenstein's monster. I'm not fond of what they've done with the artificial strokes and perhaps they'll revamp the format as part of their "LIV response package", but for now, it's what we've got.
                              
All odds via FanDuel Sportsbook as of 10:00 PM ET Tuesday.

LAST YEAR

Patrick Cantlay shot a final round 69 on his way to a victory over Jon Rahm.

FAVORITES

Scottie Scheffler (2-1)

Before we get going, remember that the strokes are baked into the odds. Since Scheffler starts at 10-under -- with the majority of the field at least five strokes off the pace -- and has been the best player out there this season, it makes sense that his odds are minuscule. The only thing working against him is his relative lack of experience on this track.

Patrick Cantlay (19-5)

Cantlay starts the week two strokes off of Scheffler, otherwise he'd be right up there at 2-1. Cantlay is really starting to thrive in the FedEx playoffs, he won last year's TOUR Championship and he's in good position to do the same this year. Though he won here this past year, Cantlay's track record at this event is not good as he's finished no better than T20 in three of his four starts. With that said, he's rolling right now, and he's been here before, so this number seems fair.

Xander Schauffele (13-2)

Will Zalatoris has pulled out of the TOUR Championship, which pushes Schauffele at 6-under up the board. This is pretty standard, the odds generally reflect the starting position of the golfers and only in rare occasions will a golfer with less strokes to start, jump another golfer. Since there's no reason for Schauffele to jump the guy who won this past week, it makes sense that he's the third favorite. If you are looking for someone to come from behind, though, Schauffele if your guy. He's done it before and in five starts here, he's finished no worse than T7.

THE NEXT TIER

Jon Rahm (14-1)

If you've followed me this year, you might be aware that I have Rahm on a team or two and I've been perhaps a bit overly critical of his play. He's undoubtedly underperformed, but he's entering the TOUR Championship in the 11th spot, so he must have done something right. With that said, a bet on Rahm is contrarian, as the numbers aren't pointing his way. What is are his generous odds and overall skills -- he's still one of the most talented guys out there.

Tony Finau (20-1)

It took Finau a long time to take his game to the next level, at least where wins are concerned, but now that he's there, it's time to look towards the next level, which is winning bigger events. Finau has always had the talent, but time after time he let something get in the way of winning on the PGA Tour. Now that winning is not an issue, he should be ready to start taking down some big events and this would be a good place to start. Finau starts well back of Scheffler and Cantlay, but he's also ahead of many players at 4-under.

Cameron Smith (20-1)

Smith has unofficially moved to LIV Golf already, which means this will be his final go on the PGA Tour. He pulled out of an event recently because of "discomfort", but that's awfully vague, so I'm assuming he's fine physically. If so, he might have some extra motivation to stick it to his PGA Tour mates that have undoubtedly been saying some nasty things about this "traitor". Smith is as talented as it gets, so if he's in a good place mentally, he could be dangerous.

LONG SHOTS

Cameron Young (41-1)

The long shots this week are unlike any other week on the PGA Tour because they are actually really strong players. Case in point, Young is quickly becoming one of the better players out there, but with the strokes working against him, he's obviously in a tough spot. With that said, Young has a tendency to go on lengthy runs, so if he gets one early, he could be right in the mix come Saturday.

Collin Morikawa (65-1)

I doubt we'll see odds like this on Morikawa in the near future. Okay, it's the strokes again, but still, how much fun would it be to have a win ticket on Morikawa at this price? Like anyone else in this range, he simply needs to make up some ground during the first two rounds and turn this into a fair fight on the weekend. Can he do it? Of course, but it will take quite an effort.

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-owned Pick: Xander Schauffele - I can't imagine anyone had the discipline to save both Scheffler and Cantlay until the last event, but Schauffele may have snuck through on a couple squads. Honestly, at this time of the year, it's all about putting out your best available option and if you have any of the top 3, congrats!

Moderately-owned Pick: Sungjae Im - Im is 27-1, so he's in that group that has a reasonable shot, yet the odds are against him. Im's placement on this list however is due largely to the fact that nearly everyone ahead of him on the odds chart is probably long gone from your list of available players.

Lightly-owned Pick: Joaquin Niemann - Again, just playing the odds here. At 65-1, Niemann seems like the first option on the board that might be lightly-owned simply because OAD players don't want to go with him. Like anyone else with such long odds, he's not likely to win, but he could still cash a nice check if he were to make a run at some point.

Buyer Beware: Scottie Scheffler - I like Scheffler's chances, but his placement here is more of a "this isn't a lock" kind of deal. The strokes are great, but they don't guarantee anything, not even a top-10, he still has to play well. The start is key for all the players. Those that are behind need to start well to make them think they have a chance and Scheffler needs to start well as to not give hope to anyone behind him.

Last Week: Viktor Hovland - T35 - $67,750

Season Total: $10,604,390

This Week: Jon Rahm - It's been a rough run to end the season, but I managed to save a guy that actually has a shot to win. Sure, he's not playing anywhere near his best, but as mentioned earlier, he has the talent to win any given week and his deficit to start -- while large -- is not insurmountable.

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Xander Schauffele ($12,400)
Middle Range: Tony Finau ($11,500)
Lower Range: Scott Stallings ($8,800)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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