Golf Pick 'Em: Tour Championship matchups

·5 min read

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Golf Pick 'Em is back for another season of picks and prizes in the NBC Sports Predictor app.

The free-to-play game has returned in 2021 and concludes this week with the Tour Championship. Each week participants will choose between a series of 10 head-to-head matchups, plus select an overall tournament champion and winning score. Keep in mind this week's event utilizes a "starting strokes" format, meaning that players will begin the tournament at different starting scores based on their season-long performance.

Participants can compete for weekly cash prizes, with a $50,000 jackpot available for any participants who earn a perfect score (increasing up to $100,000 during some of the biggest events of the year). There will also be at least $1,000 awarded each week in guaranteed cash and prizes, even if there is no player with a perfect score.

Here's a look at some of the keys to this week's set of 10 matchups as the PGA Tour returns to East Lake Golf Club to crown a season-long champion:

Bryson DeChambeau vs. Patrick Cantlay

Keys: These two went toe-to-toe in epic fashion last week at the BMW. Cantlay got the edge and as a result starts this week at 10 under, while DeChambeau will tee off at 7 under. DeChambeau has yet to finish inside the top 10 in three prior trips to East Lake, while Cantlay's best result in three trips is T-20.

Edge: Cantlay

Jon Rahm vs. Tony Finau

Keys: These are the other two of the top four starters, as Finau won at The Northern Trust after Rahm let a late lead slip away. Finau tees off behind only Cantlay at 8 under, while Rahm starts at 6 under. Rahm finished fourth last year and has never been worse than T-12 in four starts in Atlanta, while Finau has two top-10s but was T-17 last year.

Edge: Rahm

Collin Morikawa vs. Jordan Spieth

Keys: These two started the playoffs ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, but have since lost significant ground. Morikawa is down to 11th as a nagging back injury has slowed him at the first two playoff events, while Spieth is ninth and will tee off six shots behind Cantlay. Spieth won here in 2015 and was a runner-up two years prior but is making his first return since 2017. Morikawa finished sixth last year in his debut.

Edge: Spieth

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Rory McIlroy vs. Dustin Johnson

Keys: This matchup features each of the last two FedEx Cup champs, but both have work to do to get their hands on the trophy again. McIlroy will start the week at 2 under off a strong performance at the BMW as he looks to become the first three-time FedEx champ, while Johnson also tallied plenty of birdies at Caves Valley and has one extra starting stroke to his advantage as a result. McIlroy has finished outside the top 10 just once in seven East Lake starts, while Johnson's record has been more of a mixed bag.

Edge: McIlroy

Abraham Ancer vs. Harris English

Keys: These two squared off in a playoff in Memphis a few weeks ago, ultimately won by Ancer, and will tee off on even footing this week at 4 under. Ancer had the better week in Maryland and more recent East Lake experience, having finished T-18 and T-21 the last two years. English finished T-12 last year but his only other start came back in 2015. He'll look to use this week to solidify his chances for a Ryder Cup pick in front of partisan Georgia fans.

Edge: English

Hideki Matsuyama vs. Brooks Koepka

Keys: Matsuyama has been relatively quiet since the spring, but he still has that green jacket hanging in his closet for another eight months. He'll start the week at 2 under while Koepka begins at 3 under, having racked up some points with a T-22 finish at BMW. Matsuyama has three top-10s in his last five starts in Atlanta, while Koepka is returning for the first time since a T-3 finish in 2019 when he went toe-to-toe with McIlroy in the final round.

Edge: Matsuyama

Stewart Cink vs. Jason Kokrak

Keys: Two players who each won twice this season to snag a spot in the finale. Cink will start at 1 under while making his ninth Tour Championship appearance but first since 2009. Kokrak has cooled significantly since his win over Spieth at Colonial but will still begin at 2 under as he looks to improve upon a 14th-place finish in his 2019 debut.

Edge: Kokrak

Xander Schauffele vs. Billy Horschel

Keys: Two guys that know East Lake well, and know what it takes to win there. Horschel captured the FedEx Cup back in 2014, while Schauffele won the Tour Championship and has been a runner-up each of the last two years, including last year when he carded the low 72-hole total. Schauffele will start at 2 under, while Horschel tees off at Even.

Edge: Schauffele

Sungjae Im vs. Cameron Smith

Keys: Smith made a big run in the first playoff event, while Im made his in the second. The Aussie lost a playoff to Finau at Liberty National but will still begin the week at 5 under, while Im's third-place showing at Caves Valley helped him start this week at 3 under. It's the third East Lake appearance for both, with Im's 11th-place finish last year the best of the bunch.

Edge: Smith

Sam Burns vs. Louis Oosthuizen

Keys: Burns is making a late play for inclusion in the Ryder Cup picks discussion, and he finished solo eighth at the BMW. Oosthuizen was T-38 as he looked to knock off some rust after an ill-timed neck strain. This is Burns' first appearance in Atlanta, having earned his maiden Tour title this year in Tampa, while Oosthuizen is making his fourth trip but just his second since 2016.

Edge: Burns