Previews and pre-event analysis from Golf Betting System's PGA Tour and European Tour coverage
To read Steve Bamford's Tour Championship Tips for 2014 click here. Follow Steve on twitter: @bamfordgolf
The Tour Championship by Coca-Cola will see a new FedEx Cup Champion crowned. Played at the technical, Donald Ross designed East Lake, the Top 30 players across the PGA Tour season, all enter the tournament with a chance of lifting the overall season Series crown and grabbing a cool $10 million first prize, on top of the $10 million tournament prize fund on offer in Atlanta. 'Form horse' who at the time was playing the best golf on the planet won the Tour Championship 12 months ago; with Snedeker, Haas and Furyk all capturing the title in recent years. All delivered the win:win double by winning both the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup into the bargain. Read Steve Bamford's Tour Championship tips for 2014 click here
Tournament Facts & Scheduling
The Tour Championship these days marks the close of the PGA Tour season. Quite rightly the new 'rollover' format of the schedule, sees all autumn's Tour action going towards the new season so East Lake is the end of the road. Qualification for the Tour Championship is a huge reward in itself for all golfers including the game's elite; but especially for the Tour's lower profile players especially young professionals, as a FedEx Cup Top 30 spot 'opens doors.' Jordan Spieth topped an amazing 2013 season by reaching East Lake and ultimately finishing runner-up to Stenson. Talented 'pups' Roberto Castro and John Huh have also made the Tour finale in recent seasons; which means automatic invites for next season's Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship. The classical East Lake, in Atlanta has been sole host since 2004.
The Tour Championship Course Details
East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia. Designer: Donald Ross 1913, Rees-Jones Re-Design 2008; Course Type: Technical Par: 70; Length: 7,307 yards; Water Hazards: 3; Bunkers: 72; Fairways: Meyer Zoyiagrass; Rough: Bermudagrass 2"; Greens: 6,200 sq.ft average featuring Miniverde Bermudagrass; Stimpmeter: +12ft; 2012 Average Score: 70.42 Ranked 20 of 49 courses for difficulty on the PGA Tour. 2013 Average Score: 69.38 Ranked 30 of 43 courses for difficulty.
Previous Champions: 2013: Henrik Stenson; 2012: Brandt Snedeker; 2011: Bill Haas; 2010: Jim Furyk; 2009: Phil Mickelson; 2008: Camilo Villegas.
2013: --13/267; 2012: -10/270; 2011: -8/272; 2010: -8/272; 2009: -9/271; 2008: -7/273.
Winners Prices: 2013: Stenson - 16/1 2012: Snedeker - 40/1 2011: Haas - 45/1 2010: Furyk - 20/1 2009: Mickelson- 25/1
Pre-Tournament Key Summary
The winners list at East Lake since Rees-Jones was summoned to make the home of the Tour Championship a far sterner examination reads like a who's-who of Bermudagrass steady/technical golf. Camilo Villegas has always played best on tighter courses with Bermudagrass carpet. The enigma that is Phil Mickelson has delivered wins at Riviera, TPC Sawgrass, TPC Four Seasons and some of you might remember his Open Championship win at Muirfield. Jim Furyk is the ultimate grinder, whereas Bill Haas is becoming a regular winner on sterner tests such as Riviera and Congressional. Brandt Snedeker added his name to this impressive list and has career wins at Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines and Harbour Town. Then Henrik Stenson brought a European element to the winners list; a previous winner at TPC Sawgrass in 2009. It all makes sense!
East Lake is traditional golf course, which has a definite Florida feel to it. Driving accuracy is key and the Bermudagrass greens are always fast and tricky to putt on. However don't think that course experience is a pre-requisite of any potential champion. Both Bill Haas and Henrik Stenson had never played in a Tour Championship, prior to capturing their career best victories here in Georgia.
Below we track the results of Golf Betting System PGA Tour tipster Steve Bamford who has been producing weekly tips since 2009. You can also follow him on Twitter @Bamfordgolf