Tiger Woods’s victory Sunday at the Tour Championship was huge for many, many reasons. It marked his 80th Tour victory, and the culmination of his incredible comeback in 2018. If not for a clutch closing birdie by Justin Rose, Woods would have also won the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bonus.
Tiger’s Tour Championship win was never in doubt on Sunday, but an improbable series of events had to occur for Tiger to capture the FedEx Cup, too — and it nearly happened.
Woods needed the FedEx leader entering the week, Bryson DeChambeau, to finish T15 or worse. Then, Rose had to finish in a three-way tie for 5th or worse, Tony Finau, T3 or worse, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas and to finish in a three-way tie for 2nd or worse and, finally, Keegan Bradley had to finish T2 or worse.
Several of those scenarios fell into place over the first three rounds. Keegan Bradley played himself to the bottom of the board with two early 73s. DeChambeau went 71-75. Finau, Johnson and Thomas also struggled. Johnson actually got back into Sunday, but missed a short birdie putt at 18 that would have moved him to eight under (it didn’t matter anyway after Billy Horschel signed for nine under, banishing DJ to T3).
Rose certainly had the best chance all tournament long. He came into the final round tied for second with Rory McIlroy at nine under. But Rose didn’t have it from the start. By the time he arrived at the 18th hole, Rose was T6 and needed a birdie to win the FedEx Cup. Otherwise, Tiger would take home a second trophy. But Rose hit a great second shot onto the green of the par 5, and then two-putted for birdie and $10 million.
Woods’s victory at East Lake was still worth $1.62 million, and his bonus for finishing second in the FedEx Cup was another $3 million. Something tells me, though, that win No. 80 means a little more to Tiger than the cash.