The third FedEx Cup competition of the year gets underway on Thursday and most of the best players in the business will be ready to go after spending the last week watching the European Masters. With everybody heading into this one with a clean slate, it could be a very exciting four days at Conway Fields in Chicago, Illinois.
With golf’s top professionals all at the height of their powers in recent months, this should be an entertaining battle at the top of the leader board. Honing in on just one candidate for victory was almost impossible so here are five chief contenders who could secure a crucial triumph ahead of East Lake and the TOUR Championship.
Heading into this week, Spieth has won two of his last six events but with a bit of luck, that could quite easily have been four victories. The young Texan has performed admirably this year, winning The Open Championship for the first time in his short career and dominating the smaller tournament events.
With that in mind, Spieth must be considered here. He has been consistently good for the most part of 2017 and another triumph may be on the cards. At 6/1, he is short enough in the betting but his ability to compete at the top of the leader board gives him a fantastic opportunity to take control.
One of my favourite dark horses this weekend. Rahm has been very impressive in 2017, making the cut in 19 of his 21 PGA appearances. Most recently, he finished fourth behind Spieth and fellow rival Justin Thomas at the Dell Technologies Championship but he is well capable of reversing those standings in Chicago.
Having turned professional in 2016, Rahm still has a lot to learn as he looks to establish himself as one of the best players in the sport. On the big stage, he has struggled to inspire confidence but basing his chances this weekend on his efforts at the four majors would be foolish. He is certainly worth an each way bet at 16/1.
Arguably the pick of the bunch. Thomas has been simply sublime this season and he could be the one to beat if he brings his A-game. He was invincible when winning his first major of his career at the PGA Championship and showed nerves of steel to hold off Spieth at the Dell Technologies Championship in Boston last time out.
At 11/1, he is the value bet in the field. Yes, Thomas will continue to make mistakes but his rivalry with Spieth could spur him on this weekend. If both players are at their best, it should be an intriguing battle between two of the sport’s in-form stars. With a bit of luck, Thomas might even edge it.
Scroll down the betting markets and you will find four-time major champion Rory McIlroy. It doesn’t take a genius to recognise that, despite his struggles in 2017, the Northern Irishman represents solid value at 22/1 for each way backers. He has suffered with a back issue for a while now but McIlroy can get back to winning ways this weekend.
He hasn’t been at his brilliant best in recent months but it would be foolish to write McIlroy off just yet. He missed the cut at the Dell event in Boston at the start of September and the extended rest of 10 days may ultimately help him to settle and relax ahead of what could be a defining event for his confidence and momentum going into 2017.
Like Spieth, Johnson has also been in supreme form this year – winning four events in total, including the NORTHERN TRUST title last month. His efforts have been somewhat hampered by injury in 2016, he was ruled out of The Masters when red hot favourite back in April and he will be desperate to end the current calendar year on a high.
With a fairly impressive striker rate, the big-hitting American is at least worth a second look at 8/1 in the betting markets. Some will be wary of backing Johnson due to his below par efforts in the major events but he should be capable of adjusting to Conway Fields. In fact, this course may potentially suit his skillset more than some of his rivals.