Big Dogs Rise to Top For Season-Ending Fantasy Five

McIlroyBy Michael Weigand, PGA, ICG

The Fantasy Five has made it’s way to the final meaningful event of the year on the PGA TOUR, the TOUR Championship.

This event not only marks the end of the season for many pros, it also marks the triumphant end to the FedExCup Playoffs. And, with the Ryder Cup looming next week, this week also looks to be a “tune-up” for the big names competing for pride and country at Medinah Country Club.

For this week, East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia again hosts the season-ending championship, as it has since 2004.

Bill Haas, last year’s winner of this event, will not be around to defend his title. Haas did not make the top 30 in FedExCup points necessary to earn a berth in this week’s field. That’s not to say, however, that the field is lacking in any way.

Past champions Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Adam Scott are all scheduled to compete this week. Other big names such as Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Keegan Bradley are also in the field.

The TOUR Championship provides an excellent opportunity to finish the season on just the right note. The event also provides a possible springboard to an all-important strong showing for the red, white and blue next week.

Here now, our iCHOOSEGOLF Fantasy Five for the TOUR Championship presented by Coca Cola.

Adam Scott: A simple fantasy mantra is “ride the hot hand” and that’s absolutely the case with Scott. He finished T6 and T7 in his last two FedExCup starts. He’s also 5th in Scoring Average, 16th in Birdie Average and 36th in Greens In Regulation for the year. In addition, Adam has reached that level where, in a high-caliber field such as this, he responds to the challenge. Look for this year’s Open Championship runner-up (giver-up?) to be heavily in the mix this week.

Phil Mickelson: Despite his (ahem) “interesting” putting choices over the past month, Mickelson actually looks to be rounding back into shape. And, while “rounding into shape” wouldn’t necessarily be Phil’s first choice for a description of his game, in this case it’s true. He’s finished T4 and T2 in the last two FedExCup events to lift him to 4th on the points list. Mickelson is now ranked 4th in Birdie Average, 5th in Strokes Gained Putting and 22nd in Scoring. It’s a safe bet that this week is a warm-up for Mickelson in prep for Medinah. That’s a good combination for fantasy golf owners, as well.

Dustin Johnson: If you haven’t sensed the theme in these first three Fantasy Five picks, we may have other things to talk about. If you have, it should come as no shock that Johnson is also riding a hot streak over the course of the FedExCup Playoffs. He finished T3, T4 and T6 in the three playoff events and never shot higher than 72 during the stretch. He’s ranked 7th in Scoring and 16th in Birdie Average for the year. And, after Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III made Dustin one of his picks last week, it’s a smart bet that Johnson is riding high on confidence these days.

Tiger Woods: Let’s face it. Tiger’s game isn’t what it used to be. And although everyone wants to talk about where Tiger “isn’t” it’s probably more important to talk about where he “is”. He finished 3rd at the Deutsche Bank a couple of weeks ago and then finished T4 at the BMW Championship. He’s now 2nd on TOUR in Scoring, 6th in Total Driving, 7th in Birdie Average and 17th in GIR. For anyone else on the planet, that would be amazing. For Tiger it’s a disappointment. Regardless, he’s a good bet to be heavily in the mix at East Lake.

Rory McIlroy: And we’ve saved the best for last. Literally. McIlroy won the PGA Championship in August, finished (gasp) T24 at the Barclays and then won both the Deutsche Bank and BMW championships. In case you’re wondering, that’s pretty good. As you might guess, Rory is ranked 1st in Scoring, Birdie Average, Birdie or Better Conversion, Playoff Points and Money Earned. It’s been a pretty good year for Mr. McIlroy…and a pretty nice year for his son, Rory, too.

Coverage of the TOUR Championship presented by Coca Cola begins on the Golf Channel Thursday at 1:00pm EDT / Noon CDT.



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