1 of 5 | Scottie Scheffler (L) will start the Tour Championship with a three stroke lead on Rory McIlroy. File Photo by Alex Gallardo/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are among the golfers who will chase FedEx Cup leader Scottie Scheffler in the 2023 Tour Championship, which starts Thursday in Atlanta and offers an $18 million prize.
The FedEx Cup playoffs finale will run through Sunday at East Lake Golf Club and air on Golf Channel and CBS.
"It's already been a great year," Rahm, the 2023 Masters champion, told reporters Tuesday. "To cap it off winning this would be absolutely incredible.
"It would be something very few players have done, winning multiple tournaments, a major and the FedEx Cup."
Scheffler tied for 31st at the St. Jude Championship, the first tournament of the PGA Tour's three-legged playoff system. He finished second at last weekend's BMW Championship to climb to the top spot in the standings entering East Lake, earning a starting score of 10-under par.
Hovland will start at 8-under, followed by McIlroy (-7), Rahm (-6) and Lucas Glover (-5). Max Homa, Patrick Cantlay, Brian Harman, Wyndham Clark and Matt Fitzpatrick will start at 4-under.
Tommy Fleetwood, Russell Henley, Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele will start at 3-under. Five golfers will start at 2-under, while five more will tee off at 1-under. The final five golfers in the 30-player field will be even par, 10 strokes behind Scheffler before they tee off.
"I'm a little farther back than I wanted, but I've been in this situation before," Schauffele said. "I've got a big mountain to climb this week. I'm going to do my best."
McIlroy, the defending champion, has the second-best odds, behind Scheffler, to win the tournament. Hovland and Rahm also are expected to contend.
The Tour Championship offers a $75 million total prize purse, which each player receiving a payout. Second- and third-place finishers will receive $6.5 and $5 million, respectively. Players who finish inside the Top 10 will take home at least $1 million. The last-place finisher will earn $500,000.
The par-70, 7,346-yard course is expected to test golfers with its deep bunkers, elevated and sloped greens and thick roughs. East Lake's layout will force the world's best to showcase their ability to hit an array of shots and strategize when to take chances or play it safe to avoid the thick grass, water and sand traps.
The course, which is more than 100 years old, is the oldest in Atlanta.
"I like it because it's very difficult to assert dominance," Rahm said. "Rory has played good here, obviously, but you can't shy away. You can't be missing shots and somehow maneuver around this golf course.
"You eventually have to play good golf and put the ball in the fairway to give yourself a chance to attack those pins. Some of the greens have some slope to them and are tricky. Even though you can score out here, you need to be the better player for the week. It's very fitting for this tournament."
Temperatures are expected in the upper 90s Friday through Sunday at East Lake. Rain isn't in the forecast, except for a chance of precipitation on Sunday.
Jordan Spieth and Sepp Straka will tee off in the first group of the tournament at 11:26 a.m. Thursday. Rahm and McIlroy will tee off at 1:49 p.m. on hole No. 1. Scheffler and Hovland will tee off at 2 p.m in the final group.
All times EDT
First round coverage from 1 to 6 p.m. on Golf Channel
Second round coverage from 1 to 6 p.m. on Golf Channel
Third round coverage from 1 to 3 p.m. on Golf Channel and 3 to 6 p.m. on CBS
Final round coverage from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Golf Channel and 1:30 to 6 p.m. on CBS