Henrik Stenson's roller-coaster career continues to crest. The former No. 4 in the world will return to that position on Monday after winning the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup on Sunday at East Lake in Atlanta.
At the beginning of 2012 Stenson had fallen all the way to No. 230 in the world (No. 230! Just 21 months ago!) but since then has clawed his way back into the "best in the world other than Tiger Woods" conversation.
After finishing second at the British Open in July and third at the PGA Championship in August, Stenson won the Deutsche Bank Championship and came to the Tour Championship as the No. 2 seed, guaranteeing himself the $10 million prize if he could just clear 29 other incredible golfers over four days at one of the most grueling courses on Tour.
Easy enough, right?
For Stenson, yes. His performance all week at the Tour Championship was an absolute work of art.
He shot 64-66-69-68 consecutively to walk away with a decisive win and exclamation point on his season -- a season in which he was probably the best player in the world for the second half of the year. He's also cleared $15 million since July.
He hit so many clutch shots on Sunday, too. More than he probably thought he would need as he entered with a four-stroke lead but Jordan Spieth shot a final-round 64 and was charging for much of the back nine.
In the end, though, it was Stenson and his steely glare that took home the loot (all of it) and wrapped up the 2013 PGA Tour season. And it was Spieth who gave props where they were due.
As he watched Stenson land a shot from the bunker on the green at No. 17 that all but wrapped up victory, Spieth (who was two shots back at the time) said from the TV he was watching on that he knew he was toast.
"Wow. What a golf shot there. That just won him $11.5 million."
But the 262 that came before it were just as great.
We'll have to wait until 2014 to see how much more track Stenson has in front of him.
I, for one, think it's quite a lot.
Here are our grades for the Tour Championship:
|A||Henrik Stenson won more money today than I will make in my entire professional life ... and he was playing golf.|
|A||What a year for Jordan Spieth. He always seems to save his best for the very end, too. Four of his last five Sunday rounds on Tour this year were in the 60s (nine for the entire season).|
|A||Steve Stricker has been arguably the most consistent golfer on Tour this year but it never feels like he's going to close out a tournament. He made a run this week but Stenson was too much.|
|B||Jason Dufner finished in the top 10 at the Tour Championship and, more importantly, he had a big win over Keegan Bradley on the 18th hole.|
|C||Brandt Snedeker finishing T20 means we still don't have a back-to-back winner of the FedEx Cup.|
|D||Tiger Woods was under par for the tournament for only three of the 72 holes he played. That's not going to get it done.|