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The last event of the 2015 PGA Tour season is the limited field, TOUR Championship. The 30 players eligible to participate are those in the Top 30 FedEx Cup points after the first three playoff events.
The TOUR Championship actually determines the winner of two events. The winner of the 4-day stroke play culminating this weekend will be the TOUR Championship winner and the person atop the FedEx Cup points is crowned as the FedEx Cup Champion. Any one of the 30 players can win the TOUR Championship but only those players in the Top 5 of the FedEx Cup points list coming into the tournament are eligible to win the Fed Ex Cup and the whopping 10 million dollar bonus that comes with it.
Those players are new World #1, Jason Day, who has won 5 times this year including his first Major at the PGA Championship. At #2 is World #2, Jordan Spieth, whose sensational year includes victories in consecutive Majors at the Masters and U.S. Open, among his 4 wins. Rickie Fowler is #3 after a breakthrough season in which he won the Players Championship and two other events. #4 is Henrik Stenson who has not won in 2015 but is in contention by virtue of his runner-up finishes in the first two events of the playoffs. Rounding out the Top 5 is long hitting Bubba Watson whose remarkably consistent year includes two wins.
Playing historic East Lake Golf Club (Bobby Jones called East Lake home) in Atlanta Georgia, the field was met with difficult conditions and rain in both the second and third rounds. Heading into Sunday’s final round, Spieth, at 8-under par held a one shot lead over Stenson with Fowler 3 further back. Watson was seemingly out of it at 1-under par as was Day who was a stroke behind Watson at even par for the Championship.
For Spieth it was a welcome return to form after missing the cut in the first two playoff events marking the first time that he was home for back-to-back weekends on the Tour. Spieth made a series of great putts during the middle of his closing round that would see him cruise to a comfortable 4 shot victory over Stenson (the Swede’s third second place finish of the playoffs), Danny Lee and Justin Rose. This caps what has been a surreal season for the 22-year old Texan. Adding the 10 million dollar bonus to his winning for the year puts him at over 22 million dollars in money earned for 2015. 22 at 22.
Despite Day’s brilliant play during the last two months, it was really never in doubt that Spieth will become the Tour’s “Player of the Year”, the announcement of which has now become a formality. He will also now replace Day as the top ranked golfer in the world in the Rolex World rankings.
Spieth joins Day, Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh as the only golfers who have won 5 times in one year on the Tour this century and also claims the Vardon Trophy which is awarded the player with the lowest scoring average for the year. It has been a remarkable year for professional golf with the headline coming from a remarkable young man.