ESPN Golf Online
Thursday, November 2
Wins: 9 (Mercedes Championship; Pebble Beach Pro-Am; Bay Hill Invitational; Memorial Tournament; U.S. Open; British Open; PGA Championship; WGC-NEC Invitational; Canadian Open)
Skinny: In the midst of perhaps golf's greatest year, winning the most tournaments in one season in 50 years, winning three majors and setting scoring records in each. Has not missed a cut all year and is on verge of shattering record for scoring average and earnings. Defending champion of this event, but played poorly at East Lake two years ago, finishing 20th in 30-player field.
Wins: 3 (Buick Invitational; BellSouth Classic; Colonial)
Skinny: Failed to win a tournament in 1999 for first time since 1993, but rebounded with three wins in four months to start 2000 season. Went through another year without winning a major, and with 16 career wins, has more victories than any active player without a major. One of the few players to go head-to-head with Woods and beat him at the Buick.
Wins: 1 (The International)
Skinny: Went toe-to-toe with Woods and countless occasions in 2000, coming up short every time. Finished second at the first three majors of the season as well as some other high-profile events. Played well on European Tour in brief stint and stands fifth in Order of Merit. Not in a good frame of mind coming into this event after 0-5 effort at Presidents Cup.
Wins: 2 (Players Championship; Greater Greensboro Open)
Skinny: There are plenty of reasons to like his chances in this tournament. He has played well in big events this year, going wire-to-wire to beat Woods at Players Championship. Won this tournament two years ago at East Lake as one of only two players to play all four rounds at par or better. The best iron player in the game right now, which is key on a course with just two par-5s.
Wins: 2 (Bob Hope Classic; Byron Nelson Classic)
Skinny: Cooled off considerably after a fabulous first half of season after injuries set in. Status for this event is questionable since hip surgery five weeks ago. Even if he plays, rust will be a big factor. On the positive side, finished one shot out of a playoff at this venue two years ago. Proved he is an elite player this year after focusing solely on PGA Tour.
Wins: 1 (Buick Challenge)
Skinny: Duval's season was filled with close calls and putts that wouldn't drop. He came close at both The Masters and British Open, lost a playoff at Westchester, then sat out two months with a bad back. He returned to win his first start, the Buick Challenge, and should feel at home in Atlanta. Two years ago, he played the best of anyone at East Lake the final three days, but an opening 75 did him in.
Skinny: Another year, another winless season for Love. It's now been more than 2½ years since Love finished the job, although he contended many times this year. Always seemed to crumble on Sundays when the putts wouldn't drop. Also seemed to crumble every time Woods was on the leaderboard with him. Went 4-0 at the Presidents Cup, giving him a confidence boost.
Wins: 1 (MCI Classic)
Skinny: Had a breakthrough season, picking up his first win in three years at Harbour Town then starring on the Presidents Cup team as a rookie. Went 4-0 to join Davis Love III as only players with perfect records. Making first Tour Championship appearance after a couple of near misses the past two years. Won't be a rookie on East Lake, his home course.
Wins: 1 (The Masters)
Skinny: Won at Augusta for his second major, but hasn't played very well since. Key to his Masters victory was his putting, but has changed putters, putting styles and had laser eye surgery since. Doesn't seem comfortable on the greens and looked anything but confident at the Presidents Cup. Still a deadly ball striker, set East Lake Course record with 63 in opening round in 1998 before losing playoff to Sutton.
Wins: 1 (Phoenix Open)
Skinny: Began the season with a bang, winning the unofficial Williams World Challenge and Phoenix Open in a four-week stretch. Played well in stretches during the summer, but hurt his knee and underwent surgery. Played reasonably well at Presidents Cup, going 3-2, but of late hasn't shown the deadly iron play that had him on a roll early in the year.
Wins: 1 (Doral Open)
Skinny: Furyk withdrew on Tuesday with a wrist injury, ending a fairly quiet season. Played one of the best nine holes of the season, shooting 30 on the back nine at Doral on Sunday to overtake Franklin Langham. Finished one shot out of playoff at East Lake two years ago.
Wins: 1 (Nissan Open)
Skinny: One of the best stories of the year, winning for the first time in his 266th career start. Victory came at Riviera, but he contended often. One of three undefeated players at the Presidents Cup where he seemed to make every key putt. Making his first Tour Championship appearance. Has a well-rounded game, doing nothing spectacular but everything well.
Wins: 1 (Texas Open)
Skinny: Had an odd season, playing well for just four weeks and mediocre the rest of the season. Won the Texas Open for his only victory, and had three seconds to pad his earnings. One of the shorter hitters on tour, Leonard seemed to lose confidence on the greens, which is where he usually makes up strokes. Tied for fifth at East Lake two years ago.
Wins: 1 (Greater Milwaukee Open)
Skinny: The Boss of the Moss finished in the top 10 at The Masters, U.S. Open and British Open, and posted one of the largest margins of victory all season with his dominance at Milwaukee. One of the best putters in the game, he will need to be on with the flat stick at East Lake, where the par-4s are long and he'll be hitting from longer distances than anyone else from the fairways.
Skinny: Has had 13 top-10 finishes this season, second only to Woods on the PGA Tour, yet still searching for first victory. Should be full of confidence after finishing second last week at Disney, where he played in final pairing with Woods on Saturday and Sunday and outplayed him. Left-hander is playing in his first Tour Championship.
Wins: 1 (Michelob Championship)
Skinny: Seemed on the verge of a big season after winning twice late in 1999, but didn't do much the first half of 2000. Contended at British Open, which seemed to boost his confidence. Outplayed a number of players, including Duval, to win at Kingsmill. Playing in his second Tour Championship, with East Lake better suited to his game than Champions was last year.
Wins: 2 (Houston Open; Western Open)
Skinny: The winner of numerous European and Australasian events finally found his groove on the PGA Tour. One year after narrowly retaining his playing card, picked up a pair of wins, beating Craig Stadler on the fourth playoff hole at Houston, then winning a month later in Chicago. Didn't contend much otherwise. Beat Paul Azinger in Presidents Cup singles match for only point.
Wins: 2 (St. Jude Classic; Greater Hartford Open)
Skinny: Won twice for the second year in a row, with victories coming on consecutive weeks this summer. Knows how to close the deal, with four victories in just six top-10 finishes during his career. Tends to be wild off the tee and a streaky putter. Only player on tour to putt both right-handed and left-handed, depending on the way the putt will break.
Wins: 1 (Pennsylvania Classic)
Skinny: Flirted with victory many times during the summer before breaking through at inaugural Pennsylvania Classic. A great ball striker but shaky putter through the years. That has improved this year despite the oddest putting stroke on tour. Playing in his first Tour Championship after a busy year, having played more events than any player in field.
Wins: 1 (Reno-Tahoe Open)
Skinny: Has finished season with a bang, including win at Reno to end a 12-year drought between PGA Tour victories. Climbed the money list rapidly throughout the fall, including a tie for fourth last week at Disney to move him up to 20th. Tied for fifth at East Lake two years ago. Key to his success is consistent swing.
Wins: 1 (Tampa Bay Classic)
Skinny: Narrowly missed a spot on the Presidents Cup team, which allowed him to play in Tampa Bay that week instead, resulting in his only victory of season. Of his six career wins, five have come in Florida and one in Hawaii. Followed up victory by missing the cut at Disney. Has been inconsistent on the greens all year. Tied for 11th at East Lake in 1998.
Skinny: Failed to win during 2000, but contended many times. Lost out to Begay at Hartford and Rory Sabbatini at Vancouver when winner birdied finishing hole. Also tied for second at Pennsylvania when DiMarco won by six shots. Among the best players tee to green, but screwy putting motion and aggressive style have hurt his chances to win.
Wins: 1 (Sony Open in Hawaii)
Skinny: The feel-good story of the year happened in the first full-field event, when Azinger ran away from field in Hawaii for first victory in seven years. Continued to play well throughout year and earned wild-card selection to Presidents Cup team. Carried emotional burden all season following death of friend Payne Stewart and his agent last year.
Skinny: Hasn't won yet, but it's only a matter of time. Had Doral wrapped up until Furyk shot 30 on the back nine to pass him, then finished second at Kemper and Milwaukee. Consistently showed up on leaderboards throughout season. Strong off the tee and a solid putter. Georgia native should be comfortable at East Lake for his first Tour Championship.
Skinny: Started season strong on the West Coast, then finished well after long stretch of failing to contend. Rallied to catch Toms at Kingsmill before losing playoff, then played well at Las Vegas the following week. Played first Presidents Cup and was best player on International team. Finished next-to-last in Tour Championship debut last year.
Wins: 1 (Compaq Classic)
Skinny: Successfully defended title in New Orleans, beating Blaine McCallister in playoff. Caught fire during final day of Presidents Cup, manhandling Sutton in singles match. After floundering much of the season, contended last week at Disney before finishing in tie for 10th. Refuses to practice, and sometimes seems to lose concentration.
Skinny: Began year with a second-place finish at Sony Open in Hawaii, and finished third at The International. Didn't contend any other weeks, but cashed a lot of checks. Played poorly at Presidents Cup with an 0-3 record. Hits the ball long and plays best in poor conditions. Failed to win this season for first time since 1996.
Skinny: Made the most of his chances this year, reaching top 30 despite playing just 18 tournaments, the lowest amount among any player in field. Best chance for win was at Western Open, but lost a playoff to Allenby. Straight off the tee and a great iron player, but not the player he was in the early '90s when he was the best in the game.
Skinny: Top American player on European Tour in 1999 made a name for himself at PGA Championship, where Sunday duel with Woods will be remembered as one of best finishes in golf. Eventually lost playoff to Woods, but continued to contend often throughout the fall. Had good chance to win at Memphis, losing by a shot to Begay.
Skinny: Known as the human ATM because he cashes so many checks. Got in field on last possible day, finishing 13th at Disney to overtake Rocco Mediate for final spot. Not as consistent in 2000 as he was in 1999, but still contends often. Not very good at finishing the deal with just one career victory. Fourth in last year's Tour Championship.
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