Local Knowledge: 2011 Tour Championship

East Lake
Getty Images
East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta plays host to this week's FedExCup playoffs-ending Tour Championship.
T.J. Auclair, Interactive Producer

Series: Local Knowledge

Published: Thursday, September 22, 2011 | 9:38 a.m.

All eyes are on historic East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta this week, as the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup finale -- The Tour Championship presented by Coca-Cola -- takes place.

Vijay Singh is the only former FedExCup champion in the field. While he has a mathematical chance of winning still, Singh is a longshot.

East Lake PGA Director of Golf Rick Burton filled us in on what we can expect this week.

PGA.com: Thank you for joining us, Rick. Last year you told us that the course was probably the best conditioned it had ever been for a Tour Championship and it certainly looked that way. What's the course looking like this year?

Burton: It's better than last year if you can believe it. Our greens may be the best I have seen, fairways are perfect, the rough is not quite as juicy as we would like, but it has been very dry.

PGA.com: A crop of younger players -- including the likes of Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland and Keegan Bradley to name a few -- have had breakout seasons on the PGA Tour. Which of the young players, not necessarily one of the guys I named, has impressed you most and why?

Burton: Webb Simpson and Keegan are very impressive young men. You can tell they have good roots, they're very grounded and are just nice people. And they can play.

PGA.com: There aren't many par-3 closing holes in golf, but East Lake has one at the Tour Championship. Can you talk a little about the hole? It's certainly not an easy one. And what do you like about a par-3 closing hole?

Burton: I don't know that I particularly like a par-3 finishing hole, but 18 at East Lake has been around 100 years and is one of the most memorable holes on the course. You have to play it just like the others, so in reality it doesn't matter. It's a great spectator hole.

PGA.com: In August, the Atlanta area hosted a scintillating PGA Championship over at Atlanta Athletic Club. Atlanta has always had rich golf roots, but have you noticed any extra excitement for this Tour Championship coming off the heels of a major close by?

Burton: I think so. Having the PGA Championship just a few weeks ago was good kindling for our event.

PGA.com: Final question, Rick. For you, what is the most enjoyable aspect of tournament week?

Burton: Seeing how well the East Lake staff makes everything seem easy. And seeing the enthusiasm of our 1,200 volunteers.