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Five players to watch at this week’s Tour Championship

Five players to watch at this week’s Tour Championship
Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, reacts on the 12th hole in the third round of the BMW Championship golf  tournament in Cherry Hills Village, Colo., on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. (AP Photoi)

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, reacts on the 12th hole in the third round of the BMW Championship golf tournament in Cherry Hills Village, Colo., on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. (AP Photoi)

One putt for $10 million.

That’s what the FedEx Cup was based on when it began in 2007, and starting Thursday at the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club, the top 30 in the season-long standings will be going for that $10 million.

This year, golf has had everything it can handle with Tiger Woods leaving the game due to back surgery and repeated back injuries, and Rory McIlroy having a summer to remember winning the Open Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship in succession. Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer took the season’s first two majors quite easily, and Kaymer even added the Players Championship in early May to make this a career year for the German.

Under the current format, the top five players in the FedEx Cup standings (Chris Kirk, Billy Horschel, Watson, McIlroy and Hunter Mahan) would take home the $10 million prize with a win.

With all that being said, here are my five players to watch at East Lake Golf Club and to take home the FedEx Cup.

Rickie Fowler 

The 25-year-old has finally seemed to add substance to his style, finishing in the top five in each this year’s majors. Yes, this is only Fowler’s second appearance at East Lake, but with his recent work with swing coach Butch Harmon it seems his game translates to good play anywhere.

Bubba Watson

The two-time Masters champion seems to have Georgia on his mind. This is the first year that we’ve seen Bubba Watson play to his full potential with eight top 10s and two wins, and not just be the long-ball hitter that he is. With a 314.2-yard average driving distance, the Florida native should have no problem with the 7,300-yard layout.

Justin Rose 

The Englishman had a hot summer and his play just continues to translate after winning his first major at the 2013 US Open. Rose played in the final group of the 2012 Tour Championship and looked on track for the victory before the charging Brandt Snedeker took home the title.

Adam Scott

Scott overtook Tiger Woods as world No. 1 in May, only to be trumped by McIlroy’s magical summer, and hasn’t played that bad of late with a tie for 16th at the Deutsche Bank Championship being his worst finish since late May. Scott won at East Lake in 2006 and if not for a flu bug last year, the Aussie might’ve taken home the FedEx Cup at the season’s final event.

Rory McIlroy

It’s hard not to pick Rory at this point. He’s the best we’ve seen since Tiger and it seems like everywhere he goes he’s a top 10 machine. With 16 top-25 finishes, McIlroy has been the most consistent golfer this year and even with only one appearance at East Lake, he is the favorite to win and take home the FedEx Cup.

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