Major championship season is over, and that means it’s time for the FedExCup Playoffs and the $10,000,000 prize bonus for the winner. Even the players concede that’s a lot of money at one time - just ask Jordan Spieth who used his winnings to buy a spacious new home, or Rory McIlroy who had a lavish wedding to pay for. Prior to its inception in 2007, no professional golfer dreamed of hoisting the FedExCup the way they do the Wanamaker Trophy or Claret Jug. Today, however, these are massive weeks for everyone, and outside of majors, the FedExCup is as big as it gets. Here are the Top-5 Moments in FedEx Cup Playoff History.
5. The Youngest WinnerJordan Spieth had already won The Masters and U.S. Open and almost picked up a Claret Jug as well, narrowly missing a playoff at St. Andrews. 2015 was a magical year for Spieth and the 22-year-old capped off his dream season by pouring in putts all over East Lake Golf Club to win the TOUR Championship by four strokes, and become the youngest player to capture the FedExCup.
In a season full of broken records for Spieth, he may have saved his best for last. Jordan’s $22 Million in prize money shattered the single-season money record previously held by Vijay Singh. To put Jordan’s 2015 winnings in perspective – that’s more than four times Jack Nicklaus’ career earnings and more than 20 times Arnold Palmer’s career earnings.
4. Man on a MissionFor most of 2016, Rory McIlroy didn’t live up to his reputation as one of the game’s best players. Plagued by personal issues and lingering injuries, it looked like a season to forget for McIlroy. That all changed quickly however once the FedExCup Playoffs began. Rory turned the corner with a victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship and then threw it into high gear winning the TOUR Championship in dramatic style.
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McIlroy holed out from 137-yards for a surprise eagle on the 16th hole and birdied the 18th to force a three-man playoff with Ryan Moore and Kevin Chappell. Then on the fourth playoff hole, Rory dropped in a 15-footer for the win and his reaction to sinking the putt transcended victory. McIlroy’s roar was meant to put everyone on notice: The Mac is back!
3. Mr. 59Jim Furyk didn’t win the 2013 FedExCup Playoffs, but he stole the show in the second round of the BMW Championship with a performance for the ages. Furyk started the day nine strokes behind leader Brandt Snedeker, but made up ground quickly with six birdies and an eagle through his first nine holes at Conway Farms Golf Club. The #59Watch was officially on.
Needing one birdie on the final hole to become the sixth player in history to shoot golf’s magic number, Furyk responded with a perfect drive, and approach to three feet - which he tapped in for the only 59 in FedExCup Playoff history. Even more impressive about Furyk’s 59 is that he did it in conditions more conducive to touchdowns than birdies. It was cold and windy that Friday in Lake Forest – making the 7,149-yard layout play even longer and the greens run even faster.
2. How Did He Do That?In 2011, Bill Haas needed about one-million things to go right for him to win the FedEx Cup – including hitting a staggering recovery out of the water at East Lake Golf Club in a dramatic playoff against Hunter Mahan. Haas started the final week in Atlanta in 25th place out of 30 in the standings and was actually unaware of the $11.5 million payday he was about secure.
On the second playoff hole Haas’ approach shot trickled down a hill and into the water on the 17th hole. Mahan had to think it was over, but Haas confidently splashed his ball onto the green and almost into the cup. Haas defeated Mahan on the next playoff hole, capturing both playoff trophies, and his miraculous recovery shot still ranks as the best shot in FedExCup history!
1. It’s Only FittingComing into the 2007 FedExCup Playoffs, Tiger Woods was having one of those Tiger Woods kind of seasons. Tiger had already posted five victories – including wins at the PGA Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and he also finished second at both The Masters and U.S. Open. In Woods’ last six tournaments of the year, he posted 19 of 24 rounds in the 60s – including 11 rounds in a row.
Tiger skipped the first playoff event of the FedExCup (The Barclays) but then went on an absolute tear – finishing second at the Deutsche Bank Championship, winning the BMW Championship, and destroying the field by eight shots in the TOUR Championship. In total Tiger won seven championships in 2007, and it seems fitting the greatest player of this generation and arguably all-time should have his name engraved on the first FedExCup Playoffs trophy.