Henrik Stenson completed a career year today with a 3-shot win in The Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta. He becomes the 6th player to win the FedEx Cup since its inception in 2007, following Tiger Woods (2007, 2009), Vijay Singh (2008), Jim Furyk (2010), Bill Haas (2011) and Brandt Snedeker (2012). The Swede is just the second non-American to win the Cup, after Singh, from Fiji, won five years ago.
Stenson’s big win earned him a grand total of $11.44 million. $10 million of this is the prize for winning the FedEx Cup, which is the largest purse for any event in sport played by individuals (as opposed to team sports). The remaining $1.44 million is the purse for winning this one event, The Tour Championship.
Whether it was intentional or not, Stenson’s season built up to the FedEx Cup Playoffs, and he was rewarded with the PGA Tour’s biggest prize, excluding the four major championships. In his first three events, he made 2 out of 3 cuts but failed to record a top-30 finish. He showed some signs of good play at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Shell Houston Open, collecting a T8 and a T2. Following a top-20 at The Masters and a missed cut, he posted a T5 at The Players. After some mediocre performances, including a T21 at the US Open, he began his big run to the Cup at The Open Championship where he finished solo 2nd behind Phil Mickelson. That was followed by a T2 behind Tiger Woods runaway at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and a solo 3rd at the PGA behind Jason Dufner and Jim Furyk.
After the PGA, it was playoff time. Stenson entered the playoffs ranked 9th, which was the highest among non-winners. Following a T43 at The Barclays, he changed his winless status with a dominating performance at the Deutsche Bank Championship. His worst round that week was a 67. The win, along with his high regular season ranking, left him in good position headed into the final two playoff events, and he remained in 2nd, even after a T33 at the BMW Championship. Because of his position, he could win The Tour Championship to seal the FedEx Cup, no matter what anyone else, including top-ranked Tiger Woods, did in the tournament.
Stenson earned his title this week with a wire-to-wire victory. Rounds of 64-66-69-68 gave him a three-shot victory over Jordan Spieth and Steve Stricker. Had Spieth found a way to win, Stenson would’ve still won the Cup based on Spieth lower ranking prior to the finale and Woods’ poor finish. Had Stricker won, the Wisconsin would have won the Cup, a prize which he’s been close to several times but fallen just short of.
Today marked Stenson’s 4th Tour win, and they’ve all been in big events. He won the Accenture Match Play in 2007, followed by The Players in 2009. Stenson struggled from 2010 to 2012, both on the PGA Tour and in Europe, before a resurgence this year and wins at the Deustche Bank Championship and today. Counting both the PGA Tour and European Tour, this was his 14th professional win.
How did Stenson do it from a statistical standpoint? He leads the PGA Tour in greens in regulation and in ball striking (a combination of greens in regulation and total driving), and is 2nd in Total Driving (a combination of the distance and accuracy stats).
Today concluded the 2013 PGA Tour season. By this time next week, we will know the entire membership for the 2014 PGA Tour season, as the Web.com Tour Finals will conclude Sunday at the Dye Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach. This year, for the first time, the Fall Series events over the coming weeks will count toward money and points for the 2014 PGA Tour Season. The new season begins October 10-13 at the Frys.com Open in San Martin, CA.
Tour Championship, Final Results
1. Henrik Stenson, Sweden, -13 (64-66-69-68–267)
T2. Jordan Spieth, U.S., -10 (68-67-71-64–270)
T2. Steve Stricker, U.S., -10 (66-71-68-65–270)
4. Webb Simpson, U.S., -9 (68-71-69-63–271)
5. Dustin Johnson, U.S., -8 (68-68-67-69–272)
6. Justin Rose, England, -7 (68-68-70-67–273)
T7. Billy Horschel, U.S., -6 (66-70-70-68–274)
T7. Zach Johnson, U.S., -6 (69-68-69-68–274)
T9. Roberto Castro, U.S., -5 (67-71-72-65–275)
T9. Jason Dufner, U.S., -5 (74-70-66-65–275)
T9. Sergio Garcia, Spain, -5 (68-71-69-67–275)
T12. Phil Mickelson, U.S., -4 (71-67-70-68–276)
T14. Jim Furyk, U.S., -3 (70-68-73-66–277)
T14. Adam Scott, Australia, -3 (65-69-74-69–277)
T22. Tiger Woods, U.S., E (73-71-69-67–280)
Final FedEx Cup Standings
1. Henrik Stenson, Sweden, $10,000,000 bonus
2. Tiger Woods, U.S., $3,000,000
3. Steve Stricker, U.S., $2,000,000
4. Adam Scott, Australia, $1,500,000
5. Zach Johnson, U.S., $1,000,000
6. Matt Kuchar, U.S., $800,000
7. Jordan Spieth, U.S., $700,000
8. Graham DeLaet, Canada, $600,000
9. Phil Mickelson, U.S., $550,000
10. Justin Rose, England, $500,000
13. Jim Furyk, U.S., $270,000
22. Sergio Garcia, Spain, $215,000