Tour Championship 2018: Ranking the finishes for the $10 million FedEx Cup prize
From Jim Furyk's backwards hat to Bill Haas' insane shot, this is how I rank the FedEx Cup endings
There is a lot going on at the 2018 Tour Championship, which begins later this week. There almost always is, but this year's event is especially packed with storylines. Tiger Woods is back at the event, Bryson DeChambeau (!) is both the FedEx Cup points leader as well as the favorite and several golfers are looking to either find or maintain form going into next week's Ryder Cup.
The Tour Championship can always feel a little wonky, too. It's a strong event with a fabulous field playing for both this event's trophy and the overall $10 million first prize (and $3 million second prize) you get for taking the FedEx Cup. Last year had to be a weird one for the PGA Tour. Rookie Xander Schauffele took home the Tour Championship, but Justin Thomas was far enough ahead in points to win the FedEx Cup.
This year the top five -- all of whom automatically win the FedEx Cup with a win at the Tour Championship -- include DeChambeau, Thomas, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and Tony Finau. With that in mind and using 2017 as context, let's take a look back and rank the best year-ending events in the FedEx Cup era from 1-11 starting with the last time we got a Tour Championship the week before the Ryder Cup.
1. Rory McIlroy in a playoff (2016): The three-man playoff with Kevin Chappell, Rory McIlroy and Ryan Moore was completely insane when you take into account that Dustin Johnson -- who wasn't in the playoff! -- stood to win $10 million if either Moore or Harman took the event. Then McIlroy did this and proceeded to burn down the Ryder Cup.
2. Phil Mickelson (sort of) beats Tiger (2009): This one was memorable because Mickelson and Woods went at it at East Lake. Lefty got him on Sunday with a disgustingly low 65, but Woods had enough points by finishing second to take his second FedEx Cup and another $10 million.
3. Bill Haas over Hunter Mahan in a playoff (2011): Not two guys you would have expected to play a thrilling playoff to end a PGA Tour season, but Haas pulled off one of the all-time memorable shots from the water on the second playoff hole.
4. Tiger burns it down (2007): This one wasn't even close. Woods, who had also taken the BMW Championship the week before, beat Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson by eight. He shot scores of 64-63-64-66, and nobody was in his stratosphere.
5. Jim Furyk's big comeback (2010): Furyk came into the Tour Championship outside the top 10 in the FedEx Cup rankings, and all leader Matt Kuchar had to do was play decently at the finale to take home $10 million. He finished T25 and Furyk lapped him, backwards hat and all.
6. Brandt Snedker's fist pump (2012): This is one of the highlights you always see when it's Tour Championship time. Rory McIlroy led the FedEx Cup going to East Lake, but Snedeker won the tournament by three over Justin Rose with a 68 on the final day and took home the FedEx Cup in the process.
7. Billy Horschel gator chomps (2014): I personally loved this one. We got Horschel and McIlroy in the final pairing on the weekend, and Horschel touched off what might be one of the all-time best one-month heaters in the history of golf in which he finished T2-1-1 in his final three events (and didn't make the Ryder Cup team).
8. Jordan Spieth crowns his all-time season (2015): This Tour Championship was not close, but it did feel like a coronation fit for the future (and current?) king of golf. Spieth's fifth win (including two majors) came by four over Danny Lee at East Lake. He almost doubled up runner up Henrik Stenson in FedEx Cup points.
9. Henrik Stenson topples Tiger Woods (2013): The last time Tiger played in the Tour Championship, he actually led the FedEx Cup going into the last event. He finished T22, though, and Stenson dusted him by 13 strokes and was rewarded handsomely for his efforts.
10. Justin Thomas' triumph (2017): This one was a little bit better than 2008 because at least Thomas nearly won the Tour Championship. He finished one back of Schauffele in regulation and finished in the top seven in all four playoff events. A well-earned $10 million.
11. Camilo Villegas wins, Vijay Singh gets rich (2008): This was the forerunner to the 2017 version and helped usher in a new era where a Tour Championship champion was all but assured of also winning the FedEx Cup. Because of its original structure, Villegas won the last two FedEx Cup events (and finished T3 at the one before those two) and still lost to Singh, who finished T22 and T44 at the final two (after winning the first two) and took home the $10 million.
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