Maybe the best way to win the $10 million FedEx Cup is to not waste 10 million brain cells trying to figure out how to win it.
After saying he was focused not on the FedEx Cup but on the Tour Championship at East Lake outside Atlanta, where a victory would mark his first three-win season, Jim Furyk shot an even-par 70 in the rain to finish eight under and win both Sunday.
He won $1.35 million for the Tour Championship and $10 million for coming out on top in the tense, math-heavy playoff bonanza. Grand total: $11.35 million.
"Today I had to win the golf tournament, and I don't know what the scenarios were," Furyk said. "I don't know where Matt [Kuchar] had to finish, I didn't really know. And to be honest with you, coming up 18 I assumed I was playing for the FedEx Cup, but I wasn't 100 percent sure."
After bogeying the 16th and 17th holes, Furyk got up and down for par from a greenside bunker on the par-3 18th, rolling in his final, two-and-a-half-foot putt with his cap turned backward to edge Luke Donald (70) by one.
Furyk, 40, pumped his fist and roared toward the fans in the bleachers after his final stroke.
He finished the week nine for nine in getting up and down from bunkers, and took care of some unfinished business at the Tour Championship, where he had seven top-10 finishes, including two seconds, but no victories.
"I've had my opportunities and haven't got over the hump," Furyk said. "So to win this on a golf course that I admire and respect is a lot of fun."
Furyk was an unlikely candidate to win the Cup a month ago. He entered the four-event playoffs at third in FedEx points, but he dropped down the standings when his cell phone died and he slept through his pro-am tee time at the first playoff tournament, the Barclays in New Jersey, and was disqualified.
"As much crap as I took," Furyk said at East Lake, "I had to start laughing about it."
He finished T37 at the Deutsche Bank Championship the following week, and a T15 at the BMW Championship got him to 11th in the FedEx Cup race going into East Lake.
Donald chipped in from well in front of the 17th green to give himself a chance at winning both the tournament and the FedEx bonus, but he could only watch from the scorer's hut as Furyk salvaged par at the last to avoid a playoff.
"I wasn't really thinking about the FedEx Cup, no," Donald said. "I was just thinking about chasing Jim down and trying to win the tournament."
Furyk and Kevin Streelman (70, T9) were the only players in the 30-man field to shoot par or better over all four rounds.
Furyk's victory, the 16th of his career, ended a day that included a nearly two-hour rain delay and copious what-ifs, with NBC bringing in Steve Sands to work a grease board.
Matt Kuchar, who started the week first in the FedEx standings, never got anything going all week and shot a final-round 71 to wind up five over for the tournament.
But as it turned out, that didn't end his chances. It was determined that Kuchar could still win the FedEx Cup if he finished no worse than solo 25th at East Lake as long as Nick Watney won the Tour Championship.
That scenario, which might have seemed unlikely at the beginning of the week, suddenly didn't seem far-fetched when Watney, coming off a 63 Saturday, blitzed East Lake again with a front-nine 30 before the rain delay Sunday.
Alas, he cooled off after the delay, failing to birdie the par-5 15th and making bogeys on the par-4 16th and 17th.
Paul Casey had a chance to win the FedEx Cup without winning a single tournament on Tour in 2010. Needing a solo second to win the $10 million, Casey birdied the 15th to get to three behind Furyk and one behind Donald and Retief Goosen, who were tied for second.
Alas, Casey seemed to succumb to the driving rain when he missed his second shot way right and over the sky boxes on the par-4 17th hole, leading to a bogey. He signed for his second straight 69 and finished five under par, tied for fourth with Watney.
"I had no clue," Casey told NBC's Mark Rolfing, when asked if he knew where he stood and what he had to do. He was just as clueless about how he'd dropped from fifth to sixth in the FedEx Cup race despite his T4 at East Lake.
"I'm a bit baffled," Casey said.
Phil Mickelson, trying to defend his title at the Tour Championship, missed another opportunity to take the No. 1 ranking for the first time in his career.
Struggling to hit fairways, Mickelson shot 69-72-68 to keep himself within seven of Furyk's lead with 18 holes remaining. But Mickelson slumped to a 40 on his final nine to card a final-round 74 and finish in a tie for 22nd place.