Sep 25, 2011; Atlanta, GA, USA; Bill Haas greenside on the 18th during the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-US PRESSWIRE

It's Back To Work: The Tour Championship

Now that the worlds best 30 players have enjoyed a week off, it’s time to go back to work. Action resumes Thursday morning in Atlanta at The Tour Championship By Coca Cola for the final tournament in the quest for the 2012 FedEx Cup. With an $8 Million dollar purse, for the tournament winners, and $10 Million waiting for the Cup winner, we should see some great golf. The Tour Championship is played every year at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta Georgia.

The East Lake Golf Club is a 7340 yard par 70 layout which was designed by legendary golf course designer Donald Ross, who you might remember, also designed Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro North Carolina, which is where the Wyndham Championship is held, and the famous Number 2 at Pinehurst. East Lake was built at what is known as the Atlanta Athletic Club, and the first seven holes were built in 1906. It went through stages of completion, and finally expanded to 18 holes in 1907. The Golf Club was officially established in 1913.

Golf’s most famous member at East Lake was Bobby Jones, but John Heisman, whom the Heisman Trophy is named after was one of the AAC’s founding members back in 1898. Current day Course Designer, Rees Jones, restored Donald Ross’ original golf course into what is known today as East Lake Golf Club in 1994.

In the origional design, the course was a par 72 layout, and Bryce Molder shot a course record 64 during the US Mens Amateur Championship in 2002. The par 70 record was pared down to a 10 under par 60, set by Zach Johnson during The Tour Championship in 2007. The golf course has hosted several events through the years, including the 1963 Ryder Cup, which the USA won. The team captain in 1963, was Arnold Palmer.

This challenging test for the worlds best golfers, is blessed with 72 bunkers, and is #61 on Golf Digest’s list of greatest US Golf Courses. The greens are seeded with MiniVerde Bermuda Grass, the fairways Meyer Zoysia Grass, and the rough is Tifway 419 Bermuda Grass. This venue is a beautiful old golf course, with an old southern style. It will a stern test for players who want to lift the FedEx trophy on Sunday evening.

The toughest hole on the course is the 520 yard par 4 5th hole. This was originally a par 5 that was converted to a par 4 during the 1994 restoration. With an old style smallish par 5 green, is tough to get a an approach shot close from, what is usually, a long iron from a downhill lie.

Rory McIlroy come into the Tour Championship By Coca Cola, holding the lead in all categories that mean anything this time of year. FedEx Cup points, PGA Money List, World Golf Rankings, and Scoring average. He has two time FedEx Cup Champion Tiger Woods lurking in the wings, and looking to make his come back year complete. Woods is second in all the above categories. We have finally gotten what everybody has longed for, a heads up match between Rory and Tiger for all of the marbles(Money).

If  Tiger and Rory stumble, not far back are Nick Watney(who I felt should have been on the Ryder Cup team), Phil Mickelson and Brendt Snedeker. With the one week break, I’m still not sure why Sergio Garcia and Jason Dufner took a week off during this stretch, but Dufner’s time  off has him back in 10th place, and Garcia in 12th. I’m thinking they would have been better off playing those weekends.

There is no cut at this tournament, so all 30 players will duel it out to the Sunday finish that will, for all practical purposes, end the 2012 regular season. Live coverage for Thursday and Friday will be from 1 to 6 PM (EDT) on The Golf Channel.  Saturday live coverage will be on The Golf Channel from noon to 2PM, and switch to NBC for the 2 to 6, or until the action is completed. Sunday live coverage will begin at 11:30 AM and switch to NBC at 1:30 until completion. Bill Haas is your defending champion. Enjoy!

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Tags: FedEx Cup Playoffs Golf Tv Schedule Nick Watney PGA Phil Mickelson Rory McIlroy Sergio Garcia Tiger Woods

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