This week marks the 45th event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as players head to East Lake Golf Club for the Tour Championship. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and John Antonini; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; staff writer Ryan Lavner and defending fantasy champion Charlie Rymer.
Group 1: Rory McIlroy: The forgotten man in these playoffs, the world No. 1 has finished in the top 10 in his last two post-season starts and is still the only player capable of winning events by multiple strokes.
Group 2: Jim Furyk: History pick here. The veteran collected the $10 million lottery ticket when he won the finale in 2010 and has nine top-10 finishes in 15 starts at East Lake.
Group 4: Ryan Palmer: Hard to find a player more motivated after his letdown at the BMW Championship. Or, as his swing coach Randy Smith told your scribe, “He is going to win a golf tournament and I can’t think of a better one then (the Tour Championship).”
Group 1: Rory McIlroy: McIlroy may be the chalk pick in Group 1, but I don't want to spend four days regretting that I picked against him this week at East Lake. Could lap the field at a moment's notice.
Group 2: Rickie Fowler: In a debate between the Tour's best non-winners of 2014, I'm giving Fowler the edge over Jim Furyk. He lacks Furyk's experience at East Lake, but he has had plenty of chances for a letdown in 2014 and has answered the bell every time on the big stage.
Group 3: Billy Horschel: Horschel has a tendency to get hot and stay hot, as evidenced by last week's win at Cherry Hills. Already one of the Tour's best ball-strikers, he may leave Atlanta with the FedEx Cup in hand if his putter remains cooperative.
Group 4: John Senden: Speaking of ball-striking, the Aussie is one of the best tee-to-green players around, and East Lake is a course that should emphasize that trait. Senden proved in Tampa this year that he can thrive when the course doesn't yield a birdie barrage.