PGA Tour
PGA - THE TOUR Championship Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, September 23th through Sunday, September 26th
SITE: East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia
COURSE ARCHITECT: Tom Bendelow (1904), Donald Ross (1913), George Cobb (1959),
         Rees Jones (1994 - redesign; 2008 - renovation)
PAR: 70
YARDAGE: 7,319
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 424 yds10 - Par 4 469 yds
2 - Par 3 214 yds11 - Par 3 197 yds
3 - Par 4 387 yds12 - Par 4 391 yds
4 - Par 4 440 yds13 - Par 4 476 yds
5 - Par 4 520 yds14 - Par 4 442 yds
6 - Par 3 209 yds15 - Par 5 525 yds
7 - Par 4 434 yds16 - Par 4 481 yds
8 - Par 4 405 yds17 - Par 4 470 yds
9 - Par 5 600 yds18 - Par 3 235 yds
--------------------------
35 3,633 Yds35 3,686 Yds
 
Annual:  24th
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Friday -- 1-6 p.m. (et),
  - Saturday -- 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (et),
  NBC - Saturday -- 12-3:30 p.m. (et),
  Golf Channel - Sunday -- 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (et),
  NBC - Sunday -- 1:30-6 p.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Phil Mickelson
Runner-Up:  Tiger Woods
Tournament Record:  257 (Tiger Woods, 2007)
54-Hole Record:  191 (Tiger Woods, 2007)
36-Hole Record:  127 (Tiger Woods, 2007)
Course Record:  60 (Zach Johnson, 2007)
Total Purse:  $7,500,000
Shares:  1st Place - $1,350,000; 2nd Place - $810,000; 3rd Place - $510,000
 
2009 Finish
PlayerScorePlayerScore
Phil Mickelson271Steve Stricker277
Tiger Woods274Jim Furyk278
Sean O'Hair275Steve Marino278
Padraig Harrington276Ernie Els279
Kenny Perry276Three players at280
 
Past THE TOUR Championship Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2009Phil Mickelson (271) -- Tiger Woods
2008*Camilo Villegas (273) -- Sergio Garcia
2007Tiger Woods (257) -- Mark Calcavecchia, Zach Johnson
2006Adam Scott (269) -- Jim Furyk
2005Bart Bryant (263) -- Tiger Woods
2004Retief Goosen (269) -- Tiger Woods
2003Chad Campbell (268) -- Charles Howell III
2002Vijay Singh (268) -- Charles Howell III
2001*Mike Weir (270) -- Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, David Toms
2000Phil Mickelson (267) -- Tiger Woods
1999Tiger Woods (269) -- Davis Love III
1998*Hal Sutton (274) -- Vijay Singh
1997David Duval (273) -- Jim Furyk
1996Tom Lehman (268) -- Brad Faxon
1995Billy Mayfair (280) -- Steve Elkington, Corey Pavin
1994*Mark McCumber (274) -- Fuzzy Zoeller
1993Jim Gallagher Jr (277) -- David Frost, John Huston, Greg Norman,
Scott Simpson
1992Paul Azinger (276) -- Lee Janzen, Corey Pavin
1991*Craig Stadler (279) -- Russ Cochran
1990*Jodie Mudd (273) -- Billy Mayfair
1989*Tom Kite (276) -- Payne Stewart
1988*Curtis Strange (279) -- Tom Kite
1987Tom Watson (268) -- Chip Beck

* - Won in Playoff

Note:Formerly called Nabisco Championships (1989-90), Nabisco Golf
Championships (1988), Nabisco Championships of Golf (1987).

Top Contenders in the Field
Player2000200120022003200420052006200720082009
Phil MickelsonWon---T-5---T-19------20thT-3Won
Steve Stricker---24th---------------T-17T-246th
Jim Furyk---T-7T-188th---13th2ndT-11T-6T-7
Ernie ElsT-3T-2T-1317thT-10---T-10T-26T-69th
Nick Watney---------------------------T-13
Zach Johnson------------13th---16thT-2---T-16
Geoff Ogilvy------------------T-19T-17---T-16
Retief Goosen------T-93rdWonT-44th------23rd
Hunter Mahan---------------------T-5T-1724th
Luke Donald---------------T-14T-5------T-25
Dustin Johnson---------------------------27th
Kevin Na---------------------------30th
Camilo Villegas---------------------T-9Won---
K.J. Choi------T-9T-1927th---26thT-219th---
Robert AllenbyT-16T-22T-22T-13---------T-1116th---
Tim Clark---------------T-22---T-729th---
Bubba Watson------------------------30th---
Justin Rose---------------------T-11------
Adam Scott------------T-21T-7WonT-26------
Ben Crane---------------T-7------------
Paul Casey------------------------------
Jason Day------------------------------
Charley Hoffman------------------------------
Matt Kuchar------------------------------
Martin Laird------------------------------
Ryan Moore------------------------------
Jeff Overton------------------------------
Ryan Palmer------------------------------
Kevin Streelman------------------------------
Bo Van Pelt------------------------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Steve Stricker
Darkhorse - Adam Scott
 
Last Week's Pick to Win (Matt Kuchar) - Finished tied for 3rd
Last Week's Darkhorse (Adam Scott) - Finished tied for 15th
 
NOTES:
The final event of the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup begins this week, as the top 30 players on the FedExCup Playoff Points list qualified for THE TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club. This group will battle it out for the top prize of $1,350,000, but the winner of the FedExCup on Sunday will pocket $10 million.

Matt Kuchar is in the top spot on the points list. The points were reset prior to this event. Kuchar leads with 2,500 points, followed by Dustin Johnson with 2,250 and Charley Hoffman with 2,000. Kuchar won the first playoff event at The Barclays, Hoffman won the Deutsche Bank Championship and Johnson captured the BMW Championship.

The top-five players (Kuchar, Johnson, Hoffman, Steve Stricker and Paul Casey) on the points list can win the FedExCup if they win this tournament. Other players outside of the top five need to win and have other scenarios take place in order to capture the FedExCup. World No. 1 and two-time FedExCup and TOUR Championship winner Tiger Woods did not qualify for this tournament for the first time in his career.

Eleven players are competing in this event for the first time this week - Ben Crane, Casey, Jason Day, Hoffman, Kuchar, Martin Laird, Ryan Moore, Jeff Overton, Ryan Palmer, Kevin Streelman and Bo Van Pelt.

Last year, Phil Mickelson fired a five-under 65 in the final round to come from behind and win, but Woods walked off with the biggest prize, the FedExCup. Woods managed only an even-par 70 in the final round to finish second to Mickelson at East Lake, but ended atop the FedEx Cup playoff points list for the second time in three years. Mickelson played brilliantly in the final round and won the title at nine-under 271 for his third win of 2009.

Mickelson began the final round four behind, but two early birdies at three and four drew him closer. At the eighth, Mickelson nearly holed his approach, but settled for a birdie that tied him for first. Mickelson ran home a 12- footer for birdie at the ninth to move one in front. No one mounted a true charge at Mickelson, including Woods. The game's best bogeyed No. 1, bogeyed 13 and had all pars in between. His first birdie came at the 15th and he made it two in row at 16, but Mickelson was too much to catch. Lefty made a vintage Mickelson birdie at No. 16. He missed the green with his second, but holed the chip to move to nine-under par. Mickelson parred 17 and came up woefully short at the par-three closing hole. He pitched to four feet and holed the putt for his second win at this championship, having previously won in 2000. Mickelson opened the tournament last year with a three-over 73, the highest start for an eventual winner in the history of this event.

Camilo Villegas rallied from a five-shot deficit in the final round of 2008 and capped the comeback with a two-putt par on the first playoff hole to defeat Sergio Garcia. Villegas closed with a four-under 66, that included eight birdies, to post seven-under-par 273.

In 2007, Woods closed with a four-under 66 in the final round to cruise to his seventh win of the season. Woods completed the event at 23-under-par 257 and also won the inaugural FedEx Cup easily over Stricker. Woods started three of the four playoff events in 2007 and finished second, first and first. Thanks in part to the soft greens at East Lake, Woods shattered the 36- and 54-hole scoring marks. With his 257 total, Woods also smashed the previous 72- hole scoring mark of 263, which Bart Bryant set in 2005. Woods won by eight over Zach Johnson and Mark Calcavecchia. Johnson fired a course-record 60 in the third round.

With his seventh win of the season in 2007, Woods became the first player in PGA Tour history to win seven or more times in a single season in four separate years. Woods' winning total of 257 was the third lowest in PGA Tour history. Tommy Armour III owns the record of 254 set at the Valero Texas Open in 2003. Calcavecchia shot 256 at the 2001 Phoenix Open and Mike Souchak also fired a 257 at the 1955 Texas Open.

In 2005, Bryant became the fifth player to have held at least a share of the lead after every round and win, joining Tom Watson (1987), Curtis Strange (1988), Craig Stadler (1991) and Billy Mayfair (1995). Bryant also became the third player to win this event in his first appearance. Watson (1987) and Chad Campbell (2003) also accomplished the feat.

East Lake, home to legendary amateur champion Bobby Jones, has hosted several big events, most notably the 1950 U.S. Women's Amateur, 1963 Ryder Cup, 101st United States Amateur Championship in 2001, and the 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004-09 PGA Tour Championships.

In 2003, Chad Campbell became the first player to earn his maiden PGA Tour title at this event. Campbell, trailing Charles Howell III by five shots heading into the weekend, carded a 61 in the third round and then closed with 68 for a three-shot win over Howell.

The Champions Golf Club in Houston has hosted this event five times. Pinehurst No. 2, The Olympic Club and Southern Hills Country Club have each hosted this tournament twice. Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio, Pebble Beach Golf Links and Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina played host the first three years of the tournament's existence, respectively.

Next week, the best players on the PGA Tour will be in Wales for the Ryder Cup, where the United States will defend the Cup against Europe.

The PGA Tour starts the Fall Series next week with the Viking Classic at Annandale Golf Club in Madison, Mississippi. Last year, Will MacKenzie captured the title.

09/21 16:12:43 ET

As of September 21, 2010, at 04:13 PM ET