Top 10 moments in FedExCup history
September 07, 2017
By Tom Alter, PGATOUR.COM
Rory McIlroy wins it all at the TOUR Championship
One man's opinion on the 10 best moments in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs, which began in 2007:
1. HAAS' GREAT RECOVERY: There is always drama when a PGA TOUR player wades into the water to play a shot. Then add the pressure of a sudden-death playoff. For the TOUR Championship, the FedExCup trophy and its $10 million prize. Bill Haas was facing Hunter Mahan when Haas' approach shot on the second extra hole at East Lake trickled into the water left of the 17th green. With Mahan assured a par, Haas had no choice but to try to pull off a miracle shot. Not only did he splash it out onto the green, but the ball checked up next to the hole. With his father and TOUR stalwart Jay Haas watching and his brother Jay, Jr., carrying his bag, Bill made a clutch par at No. 18 to win the title and hold both trophies. His up-and-down from the water will live forever among golf’s greatest recovery shots.
2. RORY'S DYNAMIC CLOSE: McIlroy hadn’t enjoyed a great season until he began to heat up with a win at the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston, and he authored another wild comeback at the TOUR Championship. He holed out for eagle from 137 yards at the 16th hole, birdied 18 to force a playoff with Kevin Chappell and Ryan Moore, and maintained his composure with the FedExCup in the balance. Although he missed a five-foot eagle putt at the first extra hole (the 18th) that would have won it all, McIlroy drained a 15-footer for birdie at the fourth extra hole (16) to top Moore’s scrambling par. McIlroy surpassed Dustin Johnson to become the third international player to hoist the FedExCup trophy.
3. JORDAN RUNS THE TABLE: Sometimes a player simply runs the table. By winning the 2015 TOUR Championship—by a tidy four shots, no less—Jordan Spieth zoomed past Day to win the entire FedExCup. In doing so, the hot-putting Spieth, at 22 years, 2 months old, became the youngest player to win the TOUR Championship and the FedExCup, and the youngest player since Horton Smith in 1929 to win five times in a single season. Spieth also broke the TOUR record for most money won in a single season ($12,030,465), returned to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking—taking the top spot back from Jason Day—and left no doubt as to who would become the 2015 Player of the Year.
4. FURYK? YES!: Every golfer has the fantasy that one club will turn him or her into a winner. Jim Furyk went looking for such a magic weapon in a used-club barrel at a sporting goods store near Boston while in town for the 2010 Deutsche Bank Championship. He bought a used Yes! putter and put it in the bag for the remaining two FedExCup Playoffs events. He was protecting a one-shot lead at the TOUR Championship when he hit his tee shot at the par-3 18th into a greenside bunker. In a steady drizzle, Furyk hit a great shot from the soggy sand to about 3 feet, but it wouldn’t mean anything unless his new used putter came through. You could almost see him scream, “Yes!” when he holed the clutch putt to claim golf's biggest prize.
5. TIGER AND PHIL'S FACEOFF: The 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship truly had a playoff atmosphere when Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods were paired together for the final round. TPC Boston seemed more like Fenway Park for a Red Sox game against the Yankees. In the penultimate group, the two stars exceeded the lofty expectations: Woods shot 67, but Mickelson shot 66 to win by two shots.
6. FURYK'S 59: Jim Furyk was having another consistently strong season on the PGA TOUR as he entered the 2013 BMW Championship, but he hadn't done anything truly spectacular ... until Friday's second round. After a forgettable 1-over 72 on Thursday, Furyk delivered the best round in FedExCup history. He opened with a remarkable six birdies and an eagle on Conway Farms' back nine. Three quick birdies after the turn created a '59 watch' in the golf world. Needing just one more birdie to break 60, Furyk instead made a bogey at the par-4 fifth hole. However, the ever-resilient Furyk bounced back with a birdie at No. 7 and arrived at the last hole needing just one more birdie to shoot the first 59 in PGA TOUR history with a bogey. On the final hole, Furyk hit a perfect drive, a perfect wedge to 3 feet, 3 inches, and a perfect putt for the first imperfect 59. It was the low round of the day by six shots.
7. HORSCHEL'S HOT STREAK: Billy Horschel's best finish during the 2013-'14 season before the Deutsche Bank Championship was a mediocre tie for 6th. He stood over his second shot at the par-5 finishing hole at TPC Boston knowing he could win with an eagle. He hit his 6-iron fat into the hazard short of the green, though. Instead of beating himself up over a lost opportunity, Horschel built on the momentum of his good play in Boston. The following week in Denver, he won the BMW Championship at Cherry Hills, and then held off Rory McIlroy to win the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola for the two biggest victories in his career. It's easily the best finish in FedExCup history.
8. WOODS DOMINATES: There was a lot of hype promoting the first FedExCup in 2007. A win by Tiger Woods would immediately add credibility to the new competition. As he usually does, Woods delivered. He packaged four stellar rounds of 66 or lower en route to an eight-shot victory at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola at East Lake. He was the first to have his name engraved on the sterling-silver Tiffany FedExCup trophy.
9. DAY DARTS TO NO. 1: With his six-shot victory at the 2015 BMW Championship, his fourth win in six starts, Jason Day became the third Australian (Greg Norman, Adam Scott) to hit No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. After opening with a 10-under 61, Day tied the PGA TOUR record for low first 36 holes (124), and his 193 total through three rounds broke the BMW record for low 54. Day assured he would go into the TOUR Championship at No. 1 in the FedExCup race, and joined Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods as the only players to win a major and two Playoffs events in the same season. Still, Day was most intent on reaching No. 1 in the OWGR, a lifelong dream. “Yesterday and today were probably the toughest rounds I have ever had to play in my life,” he said.
10. SNEDEKER'S SPECIAL VISIT: Brandt Snedeker held the 54-hole lead at The TOUR Championship, but instead of dwelling on what winning the FedExCup would mean to him, he spent his Sunday morning in Atlanta trying to bring joy and comfort to Tucker Anderson. The son of Snedeker’s swing coach, Todd Anderson, Tucker was critically injured in a car crash earlier that September. Snedeker said the hospital visit put the competition in perspective. Later that afternoon, Snedeker chipped in on the 71st hole to win both the TOUR Championship and the FedExCup. More importantly, he inspired a friend during his difficult recovery.
Tom Alter is the Vice President of Communications for the PGA TOUR and has worked at the TOUR for more than 25 years in television production, programming, and now promotion. He will be working at all four of this year’s FedExCup Playoff events.