The 2016 TOUR Championship
After a week-long hiatus, the FedEx Cup Playoffs will come to an end this week at East Lake GC in Atlanta, GA. East Lake GC is only a Par-70 course, but it is quite lengthy at over 7,300 yards. This tournament is unique because not only is it a no-cut event but also the field is limited to 30 players. With the field narrowed down to the cream of the crop, I plan on focusing a ton on recent form, which is captured perfectly in Recent Adjusted Round Score (Rec Adj Rd Score). Additionally, the absence of a cut brings high-risk birdie makers into play, so Recent Field Adjusted Birdies per tournament (Adj Birdies) will be a second point of emphasis when building tournament lineups this week.
For this week’s pricing tiers, we are going to split the field in half: The top-15 and the bottom-15 golfers by salary.
East Lake GC has been the every-year host of this event since 2004, so we have a solid amount of course history to work with this week. Due to the 30-player field, only three players — Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, and Justin Rose — have finished among the top 10 at least three times since 2011. Rose is the only player who has three top-five finishes in the last five years. In fact, he has finished inside of the top six in each of the last four years. Rose has what is probably the most impressive course history if we’re using arbitrary cutoffs, but Course Adj Rd Score is a far superior way to measure a player’s overall performance at a specific course. So . . .
Course Adj Rd Score (count of at least two): 67.7, Paul Casey ($9,500)
Casey has been on an absolute tear recently. His back-to-back second-place finishes and triple-digit DraftKings scores are sure to make him a popular pick going forward. Casey finished tied for fifth here last year and did so with deadly accuracy off of the tee: His 76.2 percent Driving Accuracy (DA) was the highest in the field. He hit only 64.8 percent of his Greens in Regulation (GIR), which is quite lower than his 74.5 percent mark posted through his last three events. His 15.7 Rec Adj Birdies per tournament falls slightly above the middle of the pack, but his Rec Adj Rd Score of 66.7 during that time is tied for the best in the field.
$7,700 – $11,700
Rec Adj Rd Score: 66.7, Dustin Johnson ($11,700)
DJ is tied with Casey for the highest Rec Adj Rd Score, but you will have to pay up if you want him in your lineups. His salary of $11,700 is the highest in the field, but his field-best +13.4 average Plus/Minus on the year shows that he is more than capable of meeting his salary-based expectations. His last three appearances at this event have resulted in finishes of fifth, fifth, and 10th, and he is fresh off of a win at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. His Rec GIR of 68.1 percent is being bogged down slightly by an off performance at The Barclays, where he posted an uncharacteristic 56 percent GIR. He hit over 70 percent of his greens in the next two tournaments on his way to first- and eighth-place finishes.
Rec Adj Birdies: 17.3, Patrick Reed ($9,000)
DJ leads all players in this metric, but Reed in next in line among players in this range of salaries. Reed started the playoffs in fashion, with a victory at The Barclays and a fifth-place finish at the Deutsche Bank Championship. He finished 13th at the BMW Championship two weeks ago despite hitting only 56 percent of his greens and 42 percent of his fairways in regulation. He did not play particularly well here last year, finishing 27th largely due to an average of 30.3 Putts Per Round (PPR). I wouldn’t be too frightened by his performance on the greens last year. His putter has been burning hot recently. His 27.9 PPR average through his last five events is the fourth-highest in the field, and his LT average of 28.3 shows that last year’s performance on the greens was likely an outlier.
$6,100 – $7,500
Rec Adj Rd Score: 68.2, Si Woo Kim ($6,700)
Kim missed the cut to begin the playoffs at The Barclays but has rebounded nicely since, posting 15th- and 20th-place finishes at the Deutsche Bank and BMW Championships. Through his last four events, he has averaged 16 Adj Birdies, a scrambling percentage of 68.2 and only 27.7 PPR. There is a lot riding on Kim’s putter remaining hot, because his 66 percent Rec GIR is among the worst in the field.
Rec Adj Birdies: 17.7, Emiliano Grillo ($6,900)
Grillo’s Rec Adj Round Score of 68.2 is tied with Kim’s for the highest in this range of salaries. Grillo started the playoffs strong with a second-place finish at The Barclays, but he hasn’t cracked the top 30 since. However, his strings of birdies has helped him to score 78.5 and 71.5 fantasy points in his last two events, despite 33rd- and 32nd-place finishes. His 70.2 percent LT GIR is tied with that of Jason Dufner ($6,400) for the highest mark in this pricing tier, and he has held steady with his iron play, bringing that number up to 71.8 percent through his last four events.
Pro Trends: 13, Adam Scott ($10,100)
Scott currently leads all players in the field with 13 Pro Trends, one of which is a Rec GIR of at least 75. Scott’s 29.9 PPR average through his last three events is atrocious, but it is only 0.1 PPR more than his LT average. He excels by being one of the best ball strikers in the game, and right now his Rec GIR of 78.2 percent shows that he has been getting it done recently. All Scott needs to do is catch a hot putter to take this tourney down. Even if he doesn’t, his iron play alone has been enough to help him roll in 16.3 Adj Birdies through the first three events of the playoffs.
It All Comes Down To This
The PGA Tour season will come to an end when the FedEx Cup champion is crowned this Sunday. It has been a fun season. Since you won’t be watching on Sunday (because of that little thing called “the NFL”), here are the highlights from last year’s event. Enjoy!
Best of luck!