In what shouldn’t be a shock to anyone, Justin Thomas is favored to win this week’s Tour Championship. After all, he was staked to a two-shot lead before he even arrived in Atlanta.
With a three-shot win on Sunday at the BMW Championship, Thomas moved to No. 1 on the FedEx Cup points list heading into the season finale. As a result, he’ll benefit from a head start over the rest of the field as part of a new tweak to the tour’s postseason.
Based on his standing, Thomas will begin the tournament at 10 under, two shots ahead of No. 2, Patrick Cantlay, at eight under. Here’s a look at the leader board before any of the 30 players in the field at East Lake hit a shot:
-4: Rahm, Kuchar, Schauffele, Simpson, Ancer
-3: Woodland, Finau, Scott, D. Johnson, Matsuyama
-2: Casey, Rose, Snedeker, Fowler, Kisner
-1: Leishman, Fleetwood, Conners, Im, Reavie
E: DeChambeau, Oosthuizen, Howell III, Glover, Kokrak
So how would oddsmakers react to this first-of-its-kind format? On Monday, Westgate Las Vegas Superbook released these odds for the tournament:
Sure, Thomas has the lead, and he’s coming off a win, and it’s a 30-man field, but 9 to 4? That’s a bit steep. I’m liking Jon Rahm (16/) and 2017 Tour Championship winner Xander Schauffele (25/1), who are both starting six shots behind, a lot more.
Not listed above are the longest of long shots this week, Lucas Glover, Charles Howell III, Jason Kokrak, and Corey Conners, all at 300/1. That seems like pretty good value for anyone against such a limited field, but again, these guys are starting well back so don’t think you’re getting a total steal.
The “winner” of the Tour Championship, AKA the person who finishes on top of this staggered leader board, will also win the FedEx Cup and the $15 million bonus. The PGA Tour will also keep a more standard leader board so that Official World Golf Ranking points can be awarded, but that secondary leader board won’t be promoted throughout the tournament’s coverage. Should be an interesting week!