By PGATOUR.COM Staff
The PGA TOUR Player of the Year will be announced Friday. Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson and Tiger Woods are nominated for the award. Who do you think will win? Post your opinions in the comments section below.
-- Entered 23 events and won two times: World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance.
-- Finished sixth in the FedExCup.
-- Finished third on official money list ($5,616,808).
-- Recorded a total of eight top-10 finishes.
-- Entered 21 events and won two times: Waste Management Phoenix Open and The Open Championship.
-- Finished ninth in the FedExCup.
-- Recorded a total of seven top-10 finishes.
-- Finished fourth on official money list ($5,495,793).
-- Entered 16 events and won two times: Masters Tournament and The Barclays.
-- Finished fourth in the FedExCup.
-- Recorded a total of six top-10 finishes.
-- Finished sixth on official money list ($4,892,611).
-- Entered 18 events and won two FedExCup Playoffs events: Deutsche Bank Championship and the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
-- With his wire-to-wire victory at the TOUR Championship, won the FedExCup.
-- Recorded a total of eight top-10 finishes.
-- Finished second on official money list ($6,388,230).
-- Entered 16 events and won five times: Farmers Insurance Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, THE PLAYERS Championship and World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
-- Finished second in the FedExCup.
-- Winner of the Arnold Palmer Award as the TOUR’s leading official money winner ($8,553,439).
-- Recorded a total of eight top-10 finishes.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ATLANTA -- Henrik Stenson completed a wire-to-wire victory at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola on Sunday and walked away with the biggest prize in golf in the process.
Stenson's three-stroke victory, his second win in his last three starts, gave him the FedExCup and its $10 million bonus. The Swede, who also won $1.44 million for the TOUR Championship title, joined Bill Haas as the only players to win the FedExCup in their debuts at East Lake Golf Club.
Stenson is the first European to win the FedExCup in its seven-year history.
Sunday's win also completes a fantastic stretch in the last two months of the PGA TOUR season in which Stenson arguably played the best golf of anybody in the world. He won two TOUR events -- including the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second event in the FedExCup Playoffs -- and had three other top-three finishes in his last seven starts.
"It's been an incredible run," Stenson said during the trophy ceremony following Sunday's win. "I don't know what to say. I'm speechless."
Stenson, who came into the week ranked second in the FedExCup standings, closed with a 68, his fourth straight sub-par round, one of only two players to accomplish the feat. He finished at 13 under, three stokes ahead of Jordan Spieth and Steve Stricker, who tied for second.
Making his first career start at East Lake, Stenson's ball-striking was superb this week. He ranked first in the field in greens in regulation, htting nearly 78 percent of his green. He was tied for third in driving accuracy. And no one in the field played the par-3 holes better than he did -- five of his 20 birdies came on par 3s.
Spieth, Stricker and Dustin Johnson made sure it wasn't a cakewalk for the man who started the final round with a four-stroke advantage.
Spieth, the 20-year-old phenom who had no status on the PGA TOUR at the start of the season, shot a 64 on Sunday that moved him to 10 under. Spieth, who ranks sixth on TOUR in final-round scoring average, birdied three straight to close the front nine and four in a row on the back before a bogey from the greenside bunker at the 17th hole all but ended his title bid.
Stricker, who had played his way into the top five who controlled their own FedExCup destiny during the first three rounds, bogeyed his first hole but went on to make four birdies and his first eagle in 572 holes at East Lake to put some pressure on Stenson. But in the end his 65 left the man who had once planned on going bow-hunting for elk in Colorado this week, three strokes behind.
Johnson, who was playing with Stenson, fell behind early with consecutive bogeys at the fifth and sixth holes. But he briefly joined the group at 10 under when he made four birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine before ending his bid with a messy triple bogey at No. 17.
But Stenson, who ran roughshod on East Lake's front nine this week with a cumulative 14 under, kept his stumbles to a minimum on the back nine Sunday. After a bogey at the par-4 14th, his lead had dwindled to two shots over Spieth. But he bounced back with a birdie at the par-5 15th, then almost holed out his bunker shot at 16 to easily save par there.
Stenson needed just 13 putts on the back nine Sunday. Since 1992, just three other champions needed 13 or fewer putts on their final nine holes en route to victory -- Jim Furyk in 2010 (13 putts); Adam Scott in 2006 (12 putts); and Paul Azinger in 1992 (13 putts).
"it was a tough day, absolutely," Stenson said. "I mean, especially with so many things going on at the same time here. I kind of knew, well, even if I don't win today, I could still win the FedExCup. Do you want to focus on that? At the end of the day, it was all about going out there and trying my best and try to win this golf tournament because then I knew I was going to leave with two trophies.
"That was the hard bit to put everything aside, as always, and focus on the right things. I didn't play my best round today, but I was hanging in there, took the right decisions."
Said Spieth about his chase of Stenson: "I really wasn't looking at the boards. I figured he was up there a ways. He still had 15 to play. So that's an automatic birdie for him if he hits the fairway."
Less than two years ago, Stenson had fallen to 230th in the Official World Golf Rankings, but he worked hard to improve and get back to the world-class level that he showed in winning the TOUR's signature event, THE PLAYERS Championship, in 2009.
"Henrik had a little blip on his screen there for a while, much like everybody," Stricker said. "It's nice to see that he's put in the work and the energy and the time to get it back and to reach really the ultimate thing in our sport, to win the FedExCup."
Said Stenson: "This is obviously the highest of everything, to win the FedExCup and win the TOUR Championship and win the Deutsche Bank two weeks ago. It's been unbelievable. Yeah, it's kind of sinking in more and more. To come back, that's what pays off, the hard work."
So impressed was Stricker that he thinks the PGA TOUR Player of the Year voting will be between Stenson and Tiger Woods, who won five times on TOUR this year. The voting begins Sunday night, with the winner determined at the end of the week.
"I would think about Henrik. I would think it would be up between him and Tiger probably," Stricker said. "Henrik's had an amazing year."
Woods closed with a 67 but was never a factor after failing to make even one birdie in the first round for just the seventh time as a pro. He finished even par and was tied for 22nd. He had come into the week ranked No. 1 in points, one spot ahead of Stenson, but was never a factor in his bid to win a third FedExCup title.
Webb Simpson shot the tournament's low round of 63 on Sunday to take solo fourth.
Henrik Stenson closed out the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola with a 2-under 68 to win both the tournament and the FedExCup. Want to congratulate Stenson on his big wins? Leave a message in our comments section below and we'll get it to him.
ATLANTA -- The final group has headed to the back nine at East Lake Golf Club with Henrik Stenson owning a four-stroke lead at 12 under in the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Stenson wasn't able to take advantage of the first nine holes like he has in the first three rounds, though. He only made one birdie there Sunday -- as compared with 13 combined on that segment on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Interestingly, Stenson hasn't prospered on the back nine at East Lake like he has on the front. He's 2 over on the back and bogeyed three of his last five holes on Saturday.
Jordan Spieth, who ranks sixth in final-round scoring average on TOUR, birdied three straight to close the front nine and has just made a 10-footer at the 13th hole to get to 8 under. Steve Stricker and Dustin Johnson are tied at 7 under.
Stenson and Stricker can win the FedExCup with a victory in the TOUR Championship.
ATLANTA -- Henrik Stenson's name has been a fixture on leaderboards all summer, and Sunday he's on the verge of a lucrative dual victory at East Lake Golf Club.
He owns a four-stroke advantage at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola -- and should Stenson go on to win for the second time in his last three starts, the Swede will also win the $10 million FedExCup bonus.
Stenson tees off with Dustin Johnson in the day's final group at 1:55 a.m. ET. He leads the field in greens in regulation, stands tied for second in driving accuracy and is second alone in strokes-gained putting.
Stenson, though, isn't the only player with designs on the two prestigious titles.
Steve Stricker, who stands third at 5 under, and Zach Johnson, who is another stroke back, both can with the FedExCup with a victory on Sunday in the TOUR Championship. So can Dustin Johnson, although a lot of dominoes have to fall for that to happen.
Do you think Stenson can continue his dominating play at East Lake and win the FedExCup? Or do you think someone will overtake him? Use the Comments section below to let us know what you think.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ATLANTA -- The season-long competition for the FedExCup has now come down to a mere 18 holes on Sunday at East Lake Golf Club.
Win the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and Henrik Stenson, who leads by four, will earn the $10 million bonus as well as the tournament's $1.44 million first prize. The Waterford crystal and gleaming silver Tiffany trophy will look pretty darn good in his Orlando home, too.
The Swede, who will start the final round at 11 under, came to East Lake ranked second to Tiger Woods in the FedExCup -- one of five players who could earn the hefty bonus with a TOUR Championship win. He's making his debut in the Playoffs finale and trying to join Bill Haas (2011) as the only players to pick up the dual victories in their first appearances.
Stenson, though, has a reasonable chance to win should he even finish in the top three. And he could finish as low as a two-way tie for sixth to have a mathematical shot.
But Stenson isn't sweating the possibilities. He's just focused on building a lead that reached nine strokes on Saturday before he bogeyed three of his last five holes --- the rest will take care of itself.
"It's going to be up to the other guys to try and catch up," Stenson said. "If I can keep the ball in play and keep on giving myself chances, you know, I'm not the one who has to make the extra birdies."
TOP FIVE: Woods would need the comeback of all comebacks to win the FedExCup for the third time. He's 14 strokes behind and tied for 26th. ... Adam Scott, who was so ill he needed an IV before he teed off, started Saturday's third round four strokes behind Stenson. The Aussie, who counts the Masters in his two TOUR wins this year, shot 74 in the third round and has fallen back into a tie for 10th, nine strokes behind Stenson. ... Zach Johnson, who came to East Lake ranked fourth in the FedExCup after his win Monday at the BMW Championship, is tied for fourth at 4 under. He can still earn the FedExCup if he overtakes Stenson on Sunday. ... No. 5 Matt Kuchar has struggled this week and finds himself 25th at 2 over and 13 strokes behind Stenson.
BIGGEST MOVERS: Dustin Johnson came to East Lake as the last man in at No. 30 in the FedExCup. He's 7 under and four strokes off Stenson's lead, which has boosted Johnson 23 spots in the rankings. He has a mathematical shot to win the FedExCup with a win in the TOUR Championship, but six other dominoes have to fall. ... Steve Stricker has only moved up three spots in the projections to No. 3 but is now among the five who control their own destiny. Stricker is alone in third at 5 under and can win the FedExCup with a win at the TOUR Championship (to be completely correct, provided Woods finishes out of a two-way tie for second or better).
QUOTABLE: "Of course I want to win two. If I can't win two, I'll be very pleased to win one. If I'm winning nothing, it will probably be not so sweet from this position. But I didn't have anything when I came here, so we'll see what we'll leave with." Henrik Stenson
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
ATLANTA -- Saturday was about concentration, not just physical execution. It's so easy to lose focus during rainy weather, but Henrik Stenson wanted no part of any excuses.
His scorecard showed a trio of bogeys on the back nine, but it would be a mistake to consider those holes as serious flaws in Stenson’s game. In fact, those holes might have been his biggest accomplishments in the third round. They were at least as important as the five birdies he carded.
Each of those three bogeys could have been double or worse, but Stenson was able to minimize the damage. When grips get slick and fairways are soggy, bogeys are going to be made.
The beauty of Stenson’s round was his ability to maintain focus and mitigate disaster. He started the day with a four-shot lead, and left the course with the same four-shot advantage.
Caddies: Players lean so hard on their caddies in wet weather. It's their job to not just get yardage and map course strategy, and they have to keep the equipment dry. Watch as players exit the course on a rainy day -- they are dry. Now, look at the caddies as they leave the course. They are wet and mangy workers. Caddies sacrifice their own comfort to keep their players dry.
Splits: Stenson has been wonderful on the front nine and rather ordinary over the remainder of the course. He is 13 under on the front side, and 2 over on the back. Stenson's numbers on the second hole are easy to tally. He has birdied that par 3 in every round for a total of six strokes. (Watch him birdie the par-3 second on Saturday).
Fairways: Tiger Woods has hit 18 of 42 fairways this week, which ranks near last in the 30-man field. He had a right-hand miss working on the front nine in the third round, when he hit only a third of his fairways.
Players struggled out of the Bermuda rough. It only measures two inches long, but the grass gets between the ball and clubface, making it very difficult to control distance. Stenson missed half his fairways Saturday and struggled just to make bogeys on three of his final five holes.
Putting: Steve Stricker is resilient. He's had several chances to fold this week and yet remains in contention. He had a pair of three-putt bogeys early in the tournament, but he's rebounded. He started the back nine with a bogey and double-bogey on Friday and kept his concentration. Stricker was challenged again on Saturday with short missed putts on the 10th and 13th holes, and answered with birdies at both the 14th and 15th. He has made a birdie 33 percent of the time following bogey this week.
Lefty: Phil Mickelson gave fans an exciting moment at the second hole when his flop shot missed the green, but followed up the mistake with a chip-in par. That might have been the highlight of his day. Mickelson expected to charge on Saturday, but was stuck on neutral because of 30 putts. He said he was mad and wet leaving the scoring area. Only one thing would put him in a good mood: A victory by his alma mater Arizona State against Stanford on Saturday night.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
ATLANTA -- No one has played better golf over the last two months than Henrik Stenson. The first 54 holes at East Lake have only ben an extension of that.
Stenson shot a 1-under 69 Saturday at East Lake and leads by four over Dustin Johnson in the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
At one point, it wasn't even that close.
Stenson's lead ballooned to as much as nine midway through the third round of the season finale, where tee times were moved up because of bad weather in the forecast.
When the rain arrived, so did the bogeys for Stenson, who made four of them over his final nine holes, including one on the final hole. Stenson's 45-footer for birdie lipped out on the par 3 and he missed a 5-foot putt coming back.
Still, Stenson is in position to win for not only the second time in three starts, but a victory would also give him the FedExCup trophy and the $10 million bonus.
Steve Stricker, meanwhile, is alone in third at 5 under, while four others are tied for fourth.
Tiger Woods, who came into the week No. 1 in FedExCup points, broke par for the first time this week on Saturday, shooting a 1-under 69.
He hasn't been a factor all week, though, and is four spots out of last place and would need Stenson to falter in order to win his third FedExCup.