This week marks the final event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs as East Lake Golf Club plays host to 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 Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They are joined by former 'Saturday Night Live' star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest.
Group 1: Tiger Woods: Didn’t have his best stuff on Monday at the BMW Championship, but his record at East Lake speaks for itself – two wins and not a single finish outside the top 10 since 2004.
Group 2: Justin Rose: His runner-up finish at The Barclays seemed to suggest he was emerging from his post-U.S. Open chill, but he broke par just once last week in Chicago and needs a big week in Atlanta to remain in the FedEx Cup picture.
Group 3: Sergio Garcia: East Lake seems to be the type of ball-striker’s ballpark that suits the Spaniard – he’s finished runner-up at the finale twice – and he played better than his T-18 would suggest at the BMW Championship.
Group 4: Dustin Johnson: One of the first players spotted on the East Lake practice tee early Tuesday – working with Butch Harmon, no less – and he has something to prove after being passed over for a captain’s pick by Freddie Couples.
Group 1: Tiger Woods: He controls his own destiny this week. And when Tiger is in control of something with $10 million on the line, I’m not betting against him. As the leader again in the rankings after overtaking Henrik Stenson for the position thanks to his tie for 11th at Conway Farms, he needs a win this week to somewhat validate his major-less season and put an exclamation point on his Player of the Year title. Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson are the only ones who can possibly take it from him, and I don’t see that happening at East Lake.
Group 2: Jim Furyk: He won the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup here in 2010 and after that 59 he fired on Friday at the BMW Championship, he has the boosted confidence to carry that momentum into East Lake. Take that, Fred Couples.
Group 3: Hunter Mahan: He tied for fourth last week and set off some fireworks at the BMW Championship with his hole-in-one Saturday on 17. That good omen paired with his T-8 finish at East Lake a year ago and his playoff loss in 2011 to Bill Haas, and he sticks out more than anyone else’s resume in Group 3.
Group 4: Webb Simpson: He finished T-5 here last year and while he’s winless this season, he’s finished inside the top 25 in five of his last six starts.
Group 1: Matt Kuchar: The Georgia Tech product still thinks of Atlanta as home, and this track should be right up his alley.
Group 2: Luke Donald: With three top-three finishes at East Lake in the last three years, he should be primed for another contention.
Group 3: Jason Day: It just feels like it's time for Day to finally win an upper-level event - and this may finally be the one.
Group 4: Webb Simpson: I know there are only 30 players in this week's field, but Simpson in Group 4?! Yes, please.