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Tour Championship: Luke Donald a good bet at East Lake, says Rob Lee

Rob Lee Posted 18th September 2013 view comments

Tiger Woods, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar know if they win the Tour Championship they will be quids in.

If any of those five players prevails at East Lake on Sunday they will take an unassailable lead at the top of the FedEx Cup standings and win $10million.

Everyone in the 30-man field has a sniff of victory - people have come from a long way back to win the FedEx before, with Jim Furyk doing it from 11th position in 2010 - but the five I've mentioned are in pole position.

Donald: scraped into the Tour Championship - but could now win it

Donald: scraped into the Tour Championship - but could now win it

Woods leads the standings but hasn't dominated the Tour Championship like he has other events, winning it just twice, in 1999 and 2007, and things didn't really happen for him at the BMW Championship last week.

He could make himself serious money in Atlanta but even if he does add the FedEx Cup trophy to the five wins he has already collected, I think people - and no doubt himself - will be a little underwhelmed at his season.

Donald's wedge play is as good as anyone in the world, but when you don't have immense power you cannot afford to be squint off the tee.

Rob Lee
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Tiger's goal in life is not to get past Sam Snead's record of 82 PGA Tour victories, it is to get past Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 Major titles, and in the big events this year he has faltered and not looked menacing.

Johnson, meanwhile, will be hoping to go back-to-back at the Tour Championship after winning the BMW Championship last time out, replicating the achievements of Camilo Villegas from 2008, and I think he could do it.

Plus, for someone slightly further afield, you could pick Furyk, who shot that memorable 59 during the second round of the BMW Championship, but he will be annoyed that he couldn't play brilliantly all week in Illinois.

And I still think Furyk is carrying a bit of scar tissue from last year when he buckled at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and gifted Keegan Bradley the win, and then wilted against Sergio Garcia in the Ryder Cup singles.


I was delighted to see Luke Donald sneak into the Tour Championship field by carding a score of 11-under-par at the BMW and securing a share of fourth place, and he now has a chance to finish a quiet year on a high.

The trouble Luke has had is that, as Rory McIlroy is finding in 2013, when you have one stunning year and sweep the board it is difficult to come back next time and maintain that level with so many players improving.

Donald's wedge play is as good as anyone in the world and he is a top-notch putter, too, but when you don't have immense power you cannot afford to be squint off the tee and have to be in play all the time.

That has let Luke down a bit but as a bright boy he will know that, and perhaps his change of coach - he has left Pat Goss and teamed up with Jason Dufner's coach Chuck Cook - will help him find a system to drive the ball better.

If he does that, he will be dangerous.

Luke and Justin Rose are the only Brits at the Tour Championship, with Lee Westwood joining McIlroy in being knocked out of contention at the BMW following a 67th-placed finish at Conway Farms Golf Club.

Lee has been out of sorts for a while and for him to miss the Tour Championship is a big shock; he has had a busy year what with moving house and trying to settle on the PGA Tour, but your scorecard doesn't lie.


I am going to back Luke Donald each-way at the Tour Championship; he shot 66 in the final round of the BMW to get there when a 67 wouldn't have been enough and is playing with the knowledge that he can win $10million, rather than under the pressure of being expected to win $10million. Meanwhile, in the Italia Open, I will pick Soren Kjeldsen; the Dane has played well recently in Wales and Netherlands and when the little fella gets going he is pretty consistent.

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