The TOUR Championship is the pinnacle of the PGA Tour’s season, and the 2022-2023 chapter is set to conclude at the iconic East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. Let’s unpack what makes this event and venue so significant.
Chairman's note: We tend to be on the side that kind of hates the format and in addition it has been really hard competition to bet. We try to bring the most notable points about the competition and course below and share our limited betting card that is this time based solely on the +EV plays with high emphasis on late form and course history.
The Stakes and The Players
The FedExCup Playoffs' grand finale features:
- Top Contenders: 30 elite golfers from the this season's FedExCup standings.
- Grand Prize: A whopping $18 million awaits the winner. It's not the trophy as much as it is money made by winning (and that's a shame).
- Minimum Earnings: A cool $500,000 for just reaching the Championship. Players in the field are already millionaires, but why not.
- Defending Champion: Rory McIlroy, who edged out Scottie Scheffler and Sungjae Im in the previous year after rather dramatic finish.
The Legacy of East Lake Golf Club
East Lake isn't just a golf course; it's a piece of history:
- Historical Significance: The oldest golf course in Atlanta and the home track of legendary golfer Bobby Jones.
- Course Features: A parkland course characterized by narrow fairways, tricky Bermuda rough, uneven terrains, and swift greens.
- Design Legacy: Initially designed by Tom Bendelow, later redesigned by Donald Ross, and restored by Rees Jones.
- Tour Championship Host: The permanent venue for the event since 2004.
Chairman's note: Time for a change of course and format maybe?
The "Starting Strokes" Format
Unlike typical tournaments, players start with:
- Staggered Scores: Based on their FedExCup points ranking.
- Historical Usage: This format, although divisive among fans, is in its fifth consecutive year. To be honest the format before that was even more divisive and confusing for a spectator.
The Course - A Closer Look
East Lake Golf Club has unique features that sets it apart:
- Course Layout: A par-70 layout spanning 7,346 yards, with only two par-5s.
- Challenges: Narrow fairways, elevation changes, and Bermuda roughs that demand precision.
- Signature Holes: Notable holes include the par-3 15th and the long par-5 18th.
Key Stats for Success (that we used)
To conquer East Lake, players need to focus on:
- Total Driving
- Fairways Gained
- SG: Approach
- Proximity: 200+
- SG: Par 4
Pretty standard set, but makes it easy to find some mispriced players that might start 2-4 strokes behind top10 and top5.
Here's a clip that shows how the back nine should be played:
Betting card and thoughts
Last week we ended up taking a 17% loss from the winner market which meant that the tops guys took market in the first two days. The main idea of betting with macro trends (history data from the market) is that it limits the downside (and upside as well), but performs with two digit positive ROI in 12 months time frame.
The top10s were really good ending up in a about 40% profit while top20s were pretty much break even.
This week will pick only 11 plays from this tournament and these are based on late form and course history with some manual tweaks. We won't share the traditional model from this competition because the format of the tournament fucks it up (to be frank). We won't make the needed updates for it as a protest of this dull format that PGA has chosen. The odds mentioned are the ones that market gave about 20 hours before the start.
Scottie Scheffler @ 2.48 with 20 units.
Just a good price (with almost 10% of positive EV) for a guy who has dominated ball striking this season. He has traditionally putted better on bermuda greens and the course history is solid. In addition he's a fierce competitor who'll want to have revenge of last year and last week and he's a really good player with a lead (which he will have at the start).
Viktor Hovland 1.7
Xander Schauffele 4.3
Max Homa 4.8
Russell Henley 7.4
Aiming for 5 unit profit (payout-stake).
Xander Schauffele 1.97
Max Homa 1.98
Russell Henley 2.64
Emiliano Grillo 11.5
Sepp Straka 15
3 unit level bets for these for first 3 players and 1 unit bets for the underdogs. We found value of ball strikes that have had really hot weeks in past few months.
Winner and top bets are placed in Betfair Exchange. Sign up here.
Good luck for the week!