Initiated in 2007, the FedEx Cup is golf’s annual championship trophy. Players earn points from tournament play from October to August. The top 1z5 advance to a series of four playoffs, each of which reduces the field for the following event. Ultimately, the top 3o face off in the PGATour Championship. The winner of the FedEx Cup receives $10 million. This year’s playoff events featured a back-to-back winner and the exciting return of Tiger Woods to the winners circle after more than five years.
The Northern Trust
In the first playoff event, the unorthodox style of Bryson DeChambeau proved to be a winning one, asthe 24-year-old set a course record (266) and notched his second PGAtour victory of the season. DeChambeau shot a final round 69 at the Ridgewood Country Club in NewJersey to claim a four-stroke win over runner-up Tony Finau. Cameron Smith and Billy Horschel tied for third, five strokes back.
After shooting a career-low 63 on Saturday, DeChambeau took a four-shot lead into the final 18 holes. He opened the final round with two birdies and missed only two greens on Sunday. No one came closer than two strokes of his lead during the round, and when Aaron Wise closed the gap, DeChambeau sunk two birdies at 12 and 13 to start his final cruise to the finish.
DeChambeau won the Memorial Tournament earlier in the season. His first PGA Tour win came in July 2o16 when he captured the trophy in the John Deere Classic, his 4oth PGA tour start. He joined Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers to win three PGA tour events before the age of 25. His best finish in a major has been Ti5 at the 2o16 U.S. Open. The Califomia native was also a U.S. Amateur and NCAA champion before turning pro in 2o16.
DeChambeau has earned the nickname of “the mad scientist” because of his application of physics and biomechanics to the game of golf. All his clubs have a shaft length of 374 inches. His approach is unique, as he maintains the club on the same plane during his swing without turning his wrists.
Sean O’H air, Jamie Lovemark, Kevin Tway and Vaughn Taylor shared the first round lead (66). Taylor followed up with a 78, failed to make the cut and was eliminated from the playoffs. The other three finished 1-28 or lower. Other notables: Justin Thomas (T8), Dustin Johnson (1-11), Phil Mickelson (T15), Jordan Spieth (T25), Tiger Woods (Tv). This was the first time that the Northern Trust, formerly known as The Barclays”, was played at the par 71 Ridgefield CC. The tournament has served as the kickoff event for the playoffs since zoo7. Northern Trust, a Chicago-based financial services company, assumed sponsorship in 2017.
The Dell Technologies Championship
Becoming only the second person to win the first two tournaments of the FedEx playoffs, Bryson DeChambeau again topped one of the strongest competitive fields of the year to take home the Dell Technologies trophy. He finished 16-under besting runner-up Justin Rose by two strokes. The win at TPC Boston assured DeChambeau of being seeded numi one at the Tour Championship in Atlanta. Cameron Smith finished third (-13) while C.T. Pan, Hideki Matsuyama and Tony Finau tied for fifth (-n). Other notables: Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson (T7), Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McElroy (T12), Tiger Woods (T 20).
Dechambeau entered the final round one stroke behind 27-year-old Abraham Ancer, who missed the cut at the Northern Trust. After dropping a birdie on the 7th hole, Dechambeau took the lead with another 1z foot birdie putt on the 8th hole. For good measure, he hit his approach shot on the 9th to within six feet of the hole and carded a third straight birdie. Ancer couldn’t keep pace, dropping three shots over four holes on the back nine. He finished with a 73 and tied for 7th place.
First-round leader Justin Rose birdied three of the final four holes on the par 71 course to finish alone in second. Rose, who missed the cut the week before, was the first round leader after firing a bogey-free 65 to take a one-shot lead over Russell Knox.
Day two saw Webb Simpson carded a 63, sinking a 7o foot putt on the final hole to claim the lead by one over Rose and Tyre!! Hatton. Hatton sank eight birdies using a new, $149 store-bought putter he acquired a week earlier. Tiger Woods moved into the mix shooting a bogey-free 5-under and climbed into a tie for zoth. Tony Finau, the runner-up at the Northern Trust, sank five birdies over his last eight holes.
DeChambeau’s third round 63 included birdies on 16 and 17 with a finishing eagle on the 531-yard 18th hole. While he had played numerous practice roundswith his boyhood idol, Tiger Woods, the third round found them paired for the first time in an official PGA tournament. Woods carded a 68.
The BMW Championship
The third round of the playoffs started with sunny skies and 9o+ degree temperatures, onlyto see all play washed out on Sundayfollowing torrential rains. When the final round concluded Monday, Keegan Bradley claimed victory for the first time since 2012, surviving a playoff with Justin Rose. Both tied at -2o after regulation play. Bradley paned the first playoff hole while Rose could do no better than bogey.
Bradley, who notched his fourth career win, started the final round three behind tournament leader Rose. Bradley carded a 64 with birdies on thei6th and 17th but dropped a stroke behind Rose when a wayward tee shot on the 18th led to a bogey. Rose still had a chance to win, but his par putt lipped out on i8 dropping him into a tie with Bradley.
Xander Schauffele and Billy Horschel tied for third (-19) while Rory Mcllroy finished alone in fifth place (-18). Tiger Woods, shooting a final round 66, tied Webb Simpson for sixth place (-7). Bradley came into the tournament ranked 52nd in Fed Ex Cup points. His win propelled him to sixth place going into the final playoff event in Atlanta. With two runner-up finishes in a row, Rose climbed to number one in the world golf rankings knocking Dustin Johnson from the top.
Woods and Mcllroy tied for the first round lead after both carded 8-under rounds on the par 7o Aronimink course located just outside Philadelphia. It was the lowest round for Woods in five years. His play cooled considerably on the second day. Woods could only manage a par round of 7o, leaving him five shots off the lead held by Schauffle, who shot 6-under for the lowest 36-hole score of his career.
As skies darkened and temperatures dropped in round 3, Rose took the lead after shooting a 6-under 64. Schauffele and Mcllroy sat one stroke back. Rose sank four consecutive birdies on the way to a score of 29 on the front nine. More than a dozen players were within five strokes of the lead headed into the final round.
Play was suspended Sunday after steady rain overnight and into the morning left the course saturated. Tour officials moved the final round to Monday when it became clear by Sunday afternoon that any play that day would be impossible.
Woods made a final round charge when play resumed climbing to within a stroke of the lead at one point. He sank four birdies on the front nine and added three more on the back but also carded three bogies to shoot 65. His play improved his Fed Ex Cup standing to zoth, up five points from the prior week.
Only the top 3o golfers, based on points, advanced. Jordan Spieth’s T55 finish left him ranked 31st and out of the Tour Championship for the first time in his career. Bryson Dechambeau retained the number one seeding going into the championship followed by Rose, Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas.
The Tour Championship
Tiger Woods capped a long and improbable comeback from multiple back surgeries with his first win in five years at East Lake Golf Course in Atlanta. Woods, who began the day with a three-shot lead over Justin Rose and Rory Mcllroy, finished munder par with al-over round of 71, two strokes better than runner-up Billy Horschel. Woods notched his 8 oth victory on tour, just two short of the record held by Sam Snead. Woods is the only golfer to win the Tour Championship three times.
Though Woods’ victory seemed fairly assured, the winner of the Fed Ex Cup was in doubt until near the end of the tournament. Justin Rose needed a birdie on the final hole and made it to finish the tournament in a tie for fourth, good enough to capture the Cup and the $10 million prize based on points.
It had been1,876 days since the 42-year-old Woods last claimed victory. After being in contention several times this season but never sealing the deal, a determined Woods shared the lead after the first and second rounds. He birdied the first hole of the third round and never looked back. Knocking down six birdies in the first seven holes on Saturday, Woods built a lead as large as five strokes.
Woods has never lost a professional tournament when leading by three shots or more after 54 holes. His three-shot lead quickly increased to five on Sunday with a birdie of the first hole coupled with bogeys by Mcllroy on the 4th and Rose on the 5th. Woods ran off eight straight pars before bogeying the par-4 loth hole. He added a birdie on 13, but back-to-back bogeys on 15and16 cut his lead to two strokes after Horschel birdied the 18th hole.
Mcllroy faded further back with bogeys and 5 and 8 and a double bogey on the par-4 7th hole. Playing with Woods for the first time in the last pairing of a final round, Mcllroy shot a 74 dropping him into a tie for seventh.
Rose never mounted a serious threat shooting a 3-over final round. As a result, he dropped to second in the world rankings behind Dustin Johnson after ascending to the top spot two weeks prior. However, Rose’s finish earned enough points to take home the Fed Ex Cup, a symbol of consistency throughout the season. Woods finished in second place for the Cup and earned a $3 million bonus plus $1.62 million for winning the Tour Championship. Dustin Johnson finished the tournament in third place (-7) after a 3-under 67 in the final round. Hideki Matsuyama and Webb Simpson tied with Mcllroy (-6). Bryson DeChambeau, winner of the first two playoff events, could not get anything going the first two days shooting 6-over par after 36 holes. He finished the tournament in 19th place but third overall in the FedEx standings. A tired looking Phil Mickelson finished last in the field of 3o players at 13-over par.
Major changes are coming to the FedEx Cup playoffs next year. Following a revamped regular PGA tour schedule, the playoffs will be reduced from four to three tournaments. A new scoring system will be in place for the Tour Championship, where the tournament winner will also be crowned the FedEx Cup champion. The overall prize pool doubles with the FedExwinner receiving a $15 million bonus. The road to the FedEx Cup begins anew with the fall tournament season.
Image Credit – Golfweek