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Tournament Highlights – TOUR Championship 2023

Tournament Highlights - TOUR Championship 2023
(Debby Wong/ZUMA Press Wire/Alamy)

Here are all the key details you need to know about what happened in the 2023 TOUR Championship, including how Viktor Hovland won and insights about the course.

Location

East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Ga.

Yardage

7,346; par 70

Tournament Record

257 – Tiger Woods (2007)

Purse

$18 million

Tournament Insight

The TOUR Championship is the season-ending event on the PGA TOUR, bringing together the top 30 players on the FedExCup points list. The huge purse and winner’s share reflect that the payout is for a combination of year-long performance during the FedExCup season and the results of the tournament. Players receive starting strokes at the beginning of the tournament, placing them a certain number of strokes under par based on the FedExCup standings. 

The event, which takes place in late August, has been held at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta in each year since 2004. 

Course Insight

East Lake was originally designed by Tom Bendelow and opened in 1908. Donald Ross put his stamp on the course when he was hired in 1913 to make considerable changes, including rerouting the layout into two nine-hole loops finishing at the clubhouse. The great amateur Bobby Jones grew up playing the course, which went on to host the Ryder Cup in 1963. The course fell on hard times as the surrounding neighborhood deteriorated and many members moved to the new Atlanta Athletic Club north of the city. In 1993, developer Tom Cousins stepped in to restore both the course and the East Lake neighborhood, with Rees Jones handling the course renovation. 

The successful effort led to East Lake hosting the TOUR Championship, first on an alternate-year basis starting in 1998 and then annually since 2004. Originally finishing with a par-3 18th hole, the nines were reversed starting in 2016 so that the course now concludes with a par 5. Ranging from 570 to 590 yards, depending on tee position, the 18th provides a dramatic finish with a birdie or eagle possibility. Also noteworthy in the final stretch is the 211-yard 15th with a peninsula green jutting into the lake. 

How Viktor Hovland won in 2023

Viktor Hovland combined a high starting strokes position (8-under based on his second place FedExCup standing entering the season-ending event) with superb play to win by five strokes. Xander Schauffele also played exceptional golf as the two pulled away from the field. Schauffele matched Hovland with a total of 261 for the four rounds, but Schauffele’s starting strokes were only 3-under. Despite entering the final round six strokes behind, Schauffele pressured Hovland by shooting a 30 on the front nine Sunday and following with birdies on 11 and 12 to pull within three. Hovland, who had a 31 on the front nine, made a key 25-foot par putt on the 14th to maintain a three-stroke margin, then birdied 16, 17, and 18 to close with a 63. 

  • Hovland won the BMW Championship playoff event the week before the TOUR Championship. In that tournament, he shot a 61 in the final round. 
  • Hovland ranked first in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (1.204 per round), first in Driving Accuracy (69.64 percent) and T1 in Greens in Regulation (80.56 percent). 
  • Hovland had only two bogeys on the week, one each in the second and third rounds, while making 21 birdies. 
  • In 2020, Xander Schauffele shot the lowest 72-hole total while finishing T2 in the starting-strokes format and in 2023 tied for the lowest total while finishing second. He won in 2017 (before the starting-strokes format) and has three seconds and six top-fives in his seven years of playing the event. 
  • Collin Morikawa opened with rounds of 61-64 and shared the 36-hole lead with Hovland despite beginning the event at only 1-under in starting strokes. Morikawa finished T6 after weekend rounds of 73-72. The 61 was the second lowest score in a TOUR Championship at East Lake, behind Zach Johnson’s 60 in 2007. 

This was first published in Essential Golf – you can read the complete magazine here.