East Lake brings the curtain down on the 2018 Fedex Cup and five golfers currently hold the key to unlocking the big prize. Dechambeau, Rose, Finau, Dustin and Thomas all have it in their own paws that if they win at East Lake they also win the Fedex.
Others need to rely on certain scenarios in order for them to lift both prizes. It is set to be an exciting week with all the permutations and with the Ryder Cup only around the corner we are set for some entertaining golf. East Lake has always proved to be a tough test from tee to green and with difficult, undulating greens scoring has always been under control.
Somewhere between 9 and 12 under is usually the mark. Accuracy off the tee has always been important around here as although the rough isn't the most penal it is difficult to hold the firm greens with approach shots. You need control from the fairway and from there it becomes a second shot golf course. There's no doubt you need to be on your game from tee to green to score well around East Lake.
McIlroy, Dustin and Rose are locked in a head-bobbing battle for the jolly tag with the Irishman just shading it right now at a general price of $10. Readers of this column won't forget his victory here over Ryan Moore easily as we were waiting on the American to fulfill a big priced double that week.
McIlroy pulled out all the stops to in his first Fedex Cup. Another runner up finish shows he is well suited to this track but I'm worried about the lack of wins in recent times and he looks set to be another 'nearly' man this week. Dustin hasn't finished inside the top 4 here in eight attempts and for someone of his calibre I wouldn't like to be taking single figures with that record in a reduced field.
Rose went off a solid $15 poke here last year whilst an in form Spieth was sent off a $6 jolly. There are no strong favs this week like Spieth last year and yet Rose sits just 4 pts shorter despite reaching world number one and having posted two runner up finishes in his 2 outings at this years Fedex playoff events.
We have seen before momentum take hold in these playoff events with Leishman finishing 3rd before winning, McIlroy winning two in 2016 and Horschel and Stenson winning two in 2014 and 2013. There certainly seems to be a pattern that form in the previous playoff events counts for a lot and you can't rule out anyone doing he double.
Rose's finishes in the past few weeks set him up perfectly for a big effort for the Fedex prize which he has yet to win. The world number one tag will only give him confidence and I expect a big finish from the englishman. Two runner up finishes and not outside the top ten in his last five trips here spell more of a liking to this place than anyone else teeing it up this week. He should be clear favourite for me and worth a decent sized bet.
Similarly, given Spieth was a strong jolly in 2017, it is worth noting that Fowler also went off single figures. This time around we see 25.0 floating about on the exchanges and personally I feel that is too inflated. It has been a disappointing middle to end of the season for Fowler and a winless year won't be what the doctor ordered.
However, he has a chance to change things this week and I think he is a value number. Recent form of 8-12-17-28-6-12-20-8-14 is surely far from any crisis and he comes here under the radar and miscalculated by the layers. He was only a couple of shots back of the leader heading into the final day of the BMW and shooting four rounds in the 60s can be seen as a huge positive. He hasn't done anything special around here with 8th place back in 2014 being his best finish.
Nevertheless I want to take the risk at the price and he has the touch on the greens to make a challenging score should his long game be firing. Dechambeau and Simpson were the other two on my list that were close to making the grade and with both games suiting East Lake they could be big runners.