Woods wins TOUR Championship, Rose wins FedExCup
September 23, 2018
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods wins TOUR Championship for 80th victory on PGA TOUR
ATLANTA – An emotional Tiger Woods broke a five-year win drought, most of which he spent coping with debilitating back pain, and completed a long and arduous career comeback with his victory at the TOUR Championship at East Lake on Sunday.
On a difficult day for most of the field, his 1-over 71 gave him a two-shot win over a surging Billy Horschel (66). Dustin Johnson (67) finished alone in third, four back.
“There was a point in time I didn't know if I'd ever do this again,” Woods said. He meant merely playing golf, not winning, and admitted to being near tears as he came down 18.
Justin Rose, who began the final day three off the lead and needing to finish in a two-way tie for fifth, at worst, struggled for most of the day. Knowing he needed to birdie either 17 or 18 to win the FedExCup, he birdied the par-5 18th after hitting the green in two.
The closing birdie gave him a final-round 73 and left him in a three-way tie for fourth. It was Rose’s worst round of the week by five, but it was good enough, and he became the second European winner of the FedExCup in the last three years (Rory McIlroy, ’16).
“A ton of top 10s,” Rose said, explaining his success. “Obviously had a couple of wins on the PGA TOUR, as well, this year, and managed to keep that going into the Playoffs with finishing the year with three top 5s. There were a lot of scenarios at play.”
Woods’ victory at the TOUR Championship capped a season of comeback victories that included Phil Mickelson at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship and extended all the way down to Paul Casey, Gary Woodland, Kevin Na and Keegan Bradley.
Woods did most of the work for this one Thursday through Saturday, when he made over 300 feet of putts and posted scores of 65-68-65. Taking a three-shot lead into the last round, he birdied the first hole and watched his closest pursuers, Rory McIlroy and Rose, slide backward.
“I felt like if I just went out there and did my own thing and shot under par, the tournament would be over,” Woods said after he made pars at the last two holes to salt away the victory.
He didn’t shoot under par, and the lead went down to two after he bogeyed the 15th and 16th holes, but he did collect his 80th PGA TOUR win, two behind all-time leader Sam Snead. The only tense moment was when the huge crowd broke free and followed Woods and McIlroy down the 18th fairway. Woods said he heard it but didn't see it as he didn’t turn around.
“That was awesome,” said Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava. “I thought that was terrific. And I kept telling the cops, ‘As long as they don’t trample us, let ’em keep comin’.’ Why not?”
It was Woods’ first win since the 2013 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
Justin Rose birdies 72nd hole to capture FedExCup at TOUR Championship
FEDEXCUP PROVIDES DRAMA: The winner of the FedExCup was in doubt for most of the day after Justin Rose sputtered for the first 16 holes, throwing everything up in the air.
When the wild Rose had to work hard just to salvage a bogey at the tough, par-4 14th hole, it dropped him into a three-way tie for fourth, and going the wrong direction. His struggles continued as he drove into the trees at the 16th hole and dropped his driver in disgust. At this point it began to look like Woods, who came into the week at a distant 20th in the standings, was on the verge of winning his third FedExCup in addition to the TOUR Championship.
Dustin Johnson, putting cross-handed for the first time in his career, worked his way up the leaderboard but missed a six-foot birdie try at the 18th hole. Although he still shot a final-round 67, Johnson’s miss was big, taking him out of consideration for FedExCup No. 1.
That left the spoils to either Woods or Rose, who finally stabilized with no time to spare. He hit the fairway at the par-4 17th hole and gave himself a birdie look but left it short. Needing to birdie the last, he crushed a 359-yard drive down the fairway and reached the green with his second shot, leaving himself a relatively easy two-putt birdie for the FedExCup.
“I knew I had to birdie one of the last two,” Rose said, “and I actually said to myself, I'm glad we're playing East Lake this way around, because if I had to birdie 17 or 18 the other way around, it would have been a pretty tough proposition.” (The nines had been switched since Woods first won the TOUR Championship at East Lake, in 2007.)
“So I knew that there were two birdie holes,” Rose continued. “The key was hitting the ball in the fairway at No. 17. I did that, hit a wedge right over the top of the pin. I thought that was going to actually be much tighter than it actually was. And a super quick putt, but I knew it wasn't a putt to try and race at that point because 18 is a par-5, it's a birdie hole. And I had to play the long game in my mind and just trust the fact that I could birdie 18 to win.”
Justin Rose's news conference after winning the FedExCup
PHIL MICKELSON – Shot 72 and finished last at 13 over for the week, but a three-birdie, one-bogey back nine Sunday at least provided reason for optimism at he heads to Paris for the Ryder Cup. Mickelson lingered around the tail end of the field in both Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (he hit just 25/56 fairways) and Strokes Gained: Putting. The off-week with the putter was the big surprise, given that he was second to Jason Day in that stat coming into the week.
BUBBA WATSON – Three-time winner ended comeback season on a sour note with final-round 75 that left him second from last. Hit just 21/56 fairways, worst in the field.
PATRICK REED – Masters champion shot a final-round 72 to finish near the back of the pack at 9-over. Reed hit just 23 fairways for the week, two fewer than Mickelson.
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU – FedExCup No. 1 and two-time Playoffs winner ran off a streak of four straight birdies but hit his tee shot in the water at the 226-yard, par-3 15th hole and did well to make bogey. Three-putt from 11 feet at the 17th hole also left a sour taste. Needing help from Rose to win the FedExCup, DeChambeau didn’t get it, but his final-round 67 was another step in the right direction after a rough opening 36 holes, and left him a very respectable 2-under total.
QUOTABLESI would have hit it the same way.This is a tough, tough golf course. Lots of opportunities to slip up.You know what? I could still blade this thing out of bounds.
Low round: 5-under 65 by Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama.
Longest drive: 361 yards (Gary Woodland/No. 14)
Longest putt: 39’ 3” (Bryson DeChambeau/No. 14)
Toughest hole: The 455-yard, par-4 first played to a 4.300 average.
Easiest hole: The 525-yard, par-5 sixth played to a 4.267 average.
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