Big money for everyone

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Let’s have a little fun with numbers at this week’s PGA Tour Championship. 

If this year’s winning score is -12 (not likely with the new format but more on that in a minute), that means the winner will shoot 276 for the four days. 

The winning payday for the FedEx title is $15 million. A little long, long division and you’ll see whoever is holding the oversized paycheck will have earned $54,347 and change each and every time he swung the club. 

Not bad work if you can find it. 

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The PGA Tour’s wraparound season comes down to the top 30 this week and we will see how they adjust to the format and the pressure that will play out in Atlanta at East Lake GC. 

Now it’s a week of mano-a-mano for all the money and what, there’s been a change in the format this week? 

Yes, and we’re not sure how it will play out but it goes a little something like this: 

The top guy in FedEx Cup points, Justin Thomas, starts the four-day event at 10-under-par and with a two-stroke lead over second-place Patrick Cantlay. That’s not too much to overcome. But here’s where it gets a little weirder if that’s possible as the bottom five in the field will start at even-par, leaving them a full 10 shots out of the lead, giving them a very slim chance at winning the crown. 

And no one’s even hit a shot yet. Make sense? We’ll save you the trouble of thinking this through: No. 

Why go and ruin a perfectly good scenario by putting in a staggered starting position? They don’t give the No. 4 horse (who’s the favorite) a front-stretch edge in the Kentucky Derby. In NASCAR, they don’t give Martin Truex, Jr., a one-lap lead at Daytona. They don’t … O.K., we’ll end the rant and get back to the golf course. 

Let’s sift through the numbers, the players, the attitudes, the odds and come away with a pick or two. 

By the numbers, this one’s easy. Win the Tour Championship and you win the FedEx Cup crown. There are no more points to be earned. Now it’s all strokes, although for many down the list, it’s going to mean going real low all four days to have any chance of catching the leaders. And they’ll need a stumble or two by the favorites in front of them. 

We’re going with Thomas at 9-4 this week. Granted, he hasn’t had the best season while he’s been battling an injured wrist. But he’s hitting on all cylinders right now and that’s key. His impressive win last week at the BMW showed the form — and drive — are back. 

A couple more things to like: He won this in 2017 and in three trips to East Lake his worst finish is T7. 

But don’t count out Brooks Koepka at 9-2. No one handles high-profile tournaments, at least in the last two years, like Koepka. 

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Make a 20-footer for birdie or make bogey? Simply saunter over to the next tee like it’s no big deal. He’s got the right demeanor for this kind of stage.

Oh, and don’t feel bad for the guy who winds up dead last this week in the 30th spot. He’ll still pocket $395,000 for the week. Again, not bad work if you can find it. 

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About the Author
Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 40 years in the sports-writing business. He's spent the past 18-plus years covering the golf scene in Vegas including 10 years as a writer/editor with VegasGolfer Magazine. He also contributes to the GolfNow Network of websites and Las Vegas Golf Insider.

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