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Michael Taylor 21st Sep 2010 - 6:14

Casey can steal the show at East Lake

There's no doubting that Paul Casey was the shock omission from Colin Montgomerie's European Ryder Cup team.

Monty's job was always going to be a hard one but for most people Casey looked like an absolute lock-in as a Captain's Pick, and this week he can show exactly why.

He heads to the final event in the PGA Calendar, The Tour Championship, in a position most Europeans can only dream of, with the fate of a $10m cheque in his own hands.

He might not have tasted victory in America this season but he's done everything else, including a brilliant second in the third leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, the BMW Championship.

In finishing second he ensured himself a great reset position and now a win at East Lake guarantees he becomes the first Englishman to win the FedEx Cup - what a kick in the teeth that would be for Monty.

His chances look great as well given the relative weakness of the final thirty in the hunt - Matt Kuchar is leading, Charley Hoffman is third, Tiger Woods has gone and nobody has won more than two tournaments all year.

While most people would like to see Tiger Woods re-emerge and dominate again next year, for this year it's refreshing to see so many new faces in the spotlight.

It's hard to believe that any player looks better equipped to take the mantle of FedEx Cup champion than Casey with him riding the crest of a wave and determined to show what Europe are missing out on.

Even more essential than his frame of mind though is the East Lake course that offers plenty of opportunity to thrive.

Depending on the conditions East Lake ranges from fairly simple to extremely tough with prevailing winds being the determining factor.

While length off the tee is vital for success, perhaps more importantly it's around the greens where the tournament will win.

Well placed bunkers will test Casey's sometimes suspect sand wedge, however the plus is that when you approach the green as well as he does then the traps needn't be his downfall.

Casey's performance in the BMW, where he shot 69 on all four days, is the most encouraging factor for me though - I want my man to be comfortable in all conditions, not just on the days where low scoring is possible.

Recently we've seen the likes of Mickelson and Kuchar produce awe-inspiring rounds yet fail to follow them up and as such they've fallen out of contention on Sunday.

Casey might not have the shot making potential of the likes of Mickelson or Dustin Johnson but he's the type of guy who'll give you consistency and that's why he looks so good at 14/1.

The last guy mentioned, Johnson, is one I'm also tracking this week.

For the past few years the big hitting American has threatened to break through into the game's elite and I'm now beginning to feel like this could be his moment.

After blowing the lead so famously at the US Open at Pebble Beach it took him the South Carolina resident a good few months to bounce back, it seems he's right back on track now.

He added the BMW title to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am title he won in February and he looks very dangerous perched at number two in the FedEx Cup rankings.

His game is simple, it's all about length and East Lake should suit this perfectly - the only question being how accurate he can be.

At 7/1 he may look short - it's amazing how different the betting looks without Woods about - but I can't think of any reason why he shouldn't be favourite.

 
 
 

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