Sept. 20th – 23rd, 2018
East Lake G.C.
Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,346
Purse: $9 million
with $1,620,000 to the winner
This is based on the most vital stats from East Lake G.C., based on data from last year’s Tour Championship and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2018.
This is a classic Tom Bendelow design that Donald Ross completely reworked, a course that favors the shot maker and one that hits lots of greens. The course was considered one of the best in America in the 20s and 30s, but with changes to the community in the 50s and 60s, things changed. The course held the 1963 Ryder Cup on it and George Cobb did some changes. The club fell into some really hard times in the 70s and 80s and it took Tom Cousin, an important real estate developer in Atlanta to bring the course back from its low point. Ress Jones did the restoration in 1994 but the goal was to bring it back to the changes that Donald Ross made, which he did perfectly.
What makes the course a gem is that each hole is tree-lined so you have to drive it fairly straight. The most important aspect is hitting greens, in the 17 times the course has held the Tour Championship, only one champion has been out of the top-ten in greens hit (Bill Haas in 2011) and seven of the champions led that stat. The greens are also hard to putt and since most of the greens are built up, you miss a green so scrambling becomes key. The bottom line this isn’t a course for the power hitter, short hitters have as much chance of doing well as long hitters.
So in looking at our four categories, we see how much driving and getting the ball on the green makes a difference. So we pick Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green because at East Lake putting the ball in play off the tee is very important, probably one of the most important items on this Donald Ross course. Then getting the ball on the greens is important and we all know how hard it is to hit a Donald Ross green. That is why next up is scrambling because the greens are hard to hit when you miss the green you have to get it up and down to win. After that putting average is important, last year East Lake was T-43rd in putting average so it’s important to putt well on this course to play well. This stat shows how easy the greens are, in 2017 only six other courses had easier greens to putt. Last we have birdies, last year each of the 30 pros averaged 3.53 birdies a round, so look for the player with the best birdie average to continue that at East Lake.
One last thing that, since coming back from the British Open six weeks ago, every PGA Tour event has experienced rain and wet conditions. When the course is wet it changes the character of the course and makes it easier. I can just about guarantee that every result has been because of the rain and easier conditions. Rain is the biggest friend of professional golfers, it makes any golf course easier so that is one of the reasons we have seen lower scores. Will that trend continue this week? Atlanta has had a good amount of rain the last couple of weeks so yes East Lake will be soft. The good news, for the first week in a while it looks like there won’t be any rain during the week of the Tour Championship. It’s also going to be hot and muggy if the course can dry up it will play as it should, still, the course will be easier.
*Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green: Looks at the combination of length off the tee and accuracy, then getting the ball on the green so it determines who is best at all of these items.
*Scrambler: Who gets it up and down after missing a green.
*Strokes Gained-Putting: The number of putts a player takes from a specific distance is measured against a statistical baseline to determine the player’s strokes gained or lost on a hole.
*Birdie Average: Players that make the most birdies per round
Of the 30 players in the field, 30 have stats on the PGA Tour for 2018:
Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.
|#||Name||*Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green||*Scrambler||*Strokes Gained-Putting||*Birdie Average||Total Rank
|1||Justin Rose (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||5||11||11||2||29||11400|
|2||Dustin Johnson (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||1||19||25||1||46||11300|
|3||Jason Day (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||36||15||1||9||61||8000|
|4||Justin Thomas (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||3||21||38||5||67||10300|
|5||Rickie Fowler (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||20||5||37||17||79||9100|
|6||Tiger Woods (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||7||13||52||16||88||9500|
|7||Bryson DeChambeau (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||8||44||41||8||101||8400|
|8||Rory McIlroy (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||10||2||68||21||101||10700|
|9||Phil Mickelson (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||45||50||4||4||103||6600|
|10||Kevin Na (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||63||12||16||27||118||6000|
|11||Hideki Matsuyama (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||21||47||58||18||144||8800|
|12||Patrick Reed (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||23||7||75||44||149||6900|
|13||Brooks Koepka (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||12||6||128||6||152||10000|
|14||Webb Simpson (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||35||1||7||116||159||7500|
|15||Tony Finau (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||14||104||71||11||200||8600|
|16||Marc Leishman (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||47||68||72||18||205||6300|
|17||Paul Casey (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||29||35||84||59||207||6800|
|18||Tommy Fleetwood (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||13||143||48||7||211||7900|
|19||Billy Horschel (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||37||123||24||31||215||7300|
|20||Jon Rahm (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||17||84||132||3||236||7700|
|21||Aaron Wise (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||57||140||45||12||254||6100|
|22||Patrick Cantlay (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||4||78||151||35||268||7100|
|23||Francesco Molinari (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||2||56||181||35||274||8200|
|24||Cameron Smith (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||114||30||49||85||278||6400|
|25||Xander Schauffele (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||68||93||86||50||297||7000|
|26||Bubba Watson (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||30||112||111||50||303||6500|
|27||Kyle Stanley (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||34||141||97||47||319||6100|
|28||Gary Woodland (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||19||176||114||44||353||6700|
|29||Keegan Bradley (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||6||110||174||81||371||6200|
|30||Patton Kizzire (Plyr/Tnmt/YTD)||133||162||83||52||430||6000|