The Tour Championship is a unique tournament to handicap on the PGA Tour schedule. Not only does it feature the smallest field of the season with only 30 players, but those players also start with staggered scores based on their spot in the FedEx Cup standings. Oh, and the $75 million prize pool is by far the largest of the season.
Because Scottie Scheffler (-10) gets a two-stroke head start on the rest of the field, he’s the shortest betting favorite of the season at +250. But I’m not targeting the World No. 1 with any of my outright bets this week.
So, let’s check out the three players I am betting on to catch Scheffler and win this weekend’s Tour Championship.
Patrick Cantlay +430
Patrick Cantlay went full Patty Ice last weekend by birdieing the 71st hole and making a clutch par on the 72nd to put away the BMW Championship for the second straight year. Why can’t he go back-to-back at the Tour Championship?
There aren’t many players scarier to face than Cantlay when his game is clicking, and he has revenge on his mind from when he lost to Scheffler in a playoff at the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this season. Starting at 8 under par, Cantlay should have no problem catching Scheffler over the course of four days.
Rory McIlroy 10/1
Rory McIlroy will start the Tour Championship six strokes back of Scheffler at 4 under par, but I view that as a positive instead of a negative. The Northern Irishman plays his best golf when he’s aggressive off the tee and attacking pins, which is exactly what he’ll need to do this weekend if he wants to catch the leaders.
McIlroy is also a big fan of East Lake. In eight career starts at the Tour Championship, he has two wins and has finished outside the top 10 just twice. McIlroy has a scoring average of 68.4 in 32 rounds at East Lake, which is considered one of the toughest tests on the PGA Tour schedule every year.
If anyone can come back from six strokes behind to win the FedEx Cup title, it’s McIlroy.
Cameron Smith 22/1
Not many people will be interested in betting on Cameron Smith this week, and it’s easy to see why. For starters, he’ll begin the tournament six strokes back of the lead at 4 under par. He also withdrew from the BMW Championship last weekend due to “hip discomfort,” so we don’t know how healthy he’ll be for the playoff finale.
But I’m not so convinced this hip injury is even real.
Smith’s withdrawal came one day after the PGA Tour assessed him a ticky-tack two-stroke penalty ahead of the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship, which essentially knocked him out of contention. The penalty magically came right after multiple reports surfaced that Smith would be joining LIV Golf after the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
This all might be a wild conspiracy theory, but I’m convinced the PGA Tour set out to punish Smith for his impending departure. As a result, Smith decided he didn’t want to compete on the PGA Tour until he had a chance to exact revenge by stealing its ultimate prize of $18 million.
Smith can go low on tough courses like few others can, and he has some extra incentive to stick it to the PGA Tour this week.
All betting odds courtesy of FanDuel as of 8/22.
How to get help: In the U.S., contact the National Council on Problem Gambling helpline at 1-800-522-4700.