Planet Golf — 27 September 2015 by GW staff and news services
Spieth wins; Player of the Year?

ATLANTA — There will still be a vote. But the conversation ended Sunday at East Lake.

That’s where Jordan Spieth put an exclamation point on what many already thought was a Player of the Year campaign when he won the TOUR Championship and the FedExCup.

Five wins, two of which were majors and gave him a shot at an historic three in a row. A phenomenal 10 more top-10 finishes. All leading to a few weeks as the world’s No. 1, a spot that he regained on Sunday.

Oh, and by the way, the youngster who once saved his allowance to buy a Razor scooter now has made more money in a single season than anyone else — and that $12,030,465 total doesn’t include Sunday’s $10 million FedExCup bonus, either.

When Spieth missed the cut in the first two Playoffs events, though, Jason Day was there to step in. And not without good reason, as he backed up his breakthrough at the PGA Championship with wins at The Barclays and the BMW Championship, bringing his total for the year to five.

Suddenly, Day was No. 1 in the FedExCup, as well as in the world. Spieth isn’t the type to begrudge his friend success, he just used it as motivation of his own.

That’s why Spieth, his coach Cameron McCormick and his caddie Michael Greller were among the precious few players at East Lake on Monday, working on his short game and getting a feel for the Bermuda greens. The payoff? Spieth finished the week ranked first in strokes gained: putting and scrambling, as well.

Seems an attitude adjustment was also in order. What was starting to seem like a sprint as the No. 1 ranking changed hands almost weekly was really a marathon, and Spieth’s brain trust determined his focus needed to be on the trophy at hand rather than other accouterments of success.

“For whatever reason, everything else was slipping into my head for a couple of those weeks,” Spieth said.

At East Lake, though, the 22-year-old kid with such an old soul was nothing if not single-minded. He surged into contention with a 66 in the rain on Friday, then seized the lead with a birdie on the final hole of the third round and never looked back.

A fourth round in the 60s on Sunday cemented the win. No one else in the field broke par every day, and Spieth was rewarded with a three-stroke win over Danny Lee, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson as his family proudly looked on.

“It’s validation to the year. It’s validation to these playoffs, and how can you go through the lows of a season so quickly after you’re so high,” Spieth said. “People can give up on you easily.

“And to not care about that, to worry about our own stuff, and to come into the brightest stages and perform is going to give me a lot of confidence going forward because there’s going to be ups and there’s going to be downs, I know it.

“But to be able to bounce back this quickly from the low in my season is really cool.”

Spieth’s confidant Greller could sense the urgency in his main man last week. Both were frustrated by the consecutive missed cuts, a first for the team, but he told Spieth at the time to remember the disappointment when he was celebrating in Atlanta.

“We both really believed that he was going to win,” Greller said.

Spieth had mentioned several times last week that he felt the kind of pressure at East Lake that he experienced at major championships. Greller, a school teacher turned caddie, saw it as being more self-imposed.

“Just the pressure to finish off a season,” he explained. “To feel like he had one of the best years in the history of the game and to feel like somehow it be a letdown if he didn’t win it. He wanted to put a bow on it. … He wanted to finish with an exclamation point.”

And what about an encore? Why not let him enjoy it first?

“It’s kind of a surreal year,” Spieth’s father, Shawn, said as his son posed for photos nearby, alternately holding both trophies. “I don’t want to be part of the team responsible for writing a plan for a better year next year.”

Day, though, has some ideas of his own that are well within the realm of possibility.

“To be able to put five win seasons for both of us, it’s pretty good,” the Aussie said. “It’s kind of like the old Tiger and Phil kind of era when they used to put stuff like that together and now it’s kind of our turn to do that.”

Final Leaderboard
Jordan Spieth         68-66-68-69—271 (-9)
Henrik Stenson       63-68-72-72—275 (-5)
Danny Lee              69-72-69-65—275 (-5)
Justin Rose            70-68-71-66—275 (-5)

The TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola is the culmination of the 2014-15 PGA TOUR Season and the final event of the FedExCup Playoffs. The road to the TOUR Championship began with the top 125 players qualifying for The Barclays (won by Jason Day), followed by the top 100 players at the Deutsche Bank Championship (won by Rickie Fowler) and the top 70 players at the BMW Championship (won by Jason Day).

The top 5 on the FedExCup points list entering the week could have won the FedExCup with a win this week. Here’s a look at how they finished this week and their final FedExCup ranking: Jason Day (T10/3rd), Jordan Spieth (Won/1st), Rickie Fowler (T12/4th), Henrik Stenson (T2/2nd), Bubba Watson (T5/5th)

Final 2015 FedExCup points standings (top 10):

Rank    Player                                Ranking entering week

1.         Jordan Spieth                     No. 2

2.         Henrik Stenson                   No. 4

3.         Jason Day                          No. 1

4.         Rickie Fowler                      No. 3

5.         Bubba Watson                    No. 5

6.         Zach Johnson                     No. 6

7.         Dustin Johnson                   No. 7

8.         Justin Rose                        No. 12

9.         Danny Lee                          No. 19

10.       Charley Hoffman                 No. 8

 

This is the second time in FedExCup history – and second consecutive year – the final pairing during the final round consisted of two players both inside the top five in the FedExCup standings (Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson). Last year featured Billy Horschel and Chris Kirk.

 

Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth entered the week No. 2 in the FedExCup standings and walked away with a four shot win in the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola thus becoming the 2014-15 FedExCup champion. Spieth becomes the youngest winner of the FedExCup and of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola at the age of 22 years, 2 months.

 

Spieth claims his sixth PGA TOUR win in his 83rd PGA TOUR start at the age of 22 years, 2 months.

 

Billy Horschel (2014) was previously the youngest to win the FedExCup at 27 years, 9 months, 7 days. Tiger Woods (1999) was previously the youngest to win the TOUR Championship at age 23 years, 10 months, 1 day.

 

Spieth notches his fifth victory of the season becoming the sixth player since 1980 to win five or more times in a season since 1980: Tom Watson (1980), Nick Price (1994), Vijay Singh (2004), Tiger Woods (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013) and Jason Day (2014-15).

 

Spieth becomes the youngest player since Horton Smith (turned 21 in the middle of the season) in 1929 to win five times in a season.

 

On this day in history September 27, 1930 – Bobby Jones wins the U.S. Amateur Championship to complete the Grand Slam of golf. The old structure of the grand slam was the U.S. Open, British Open, U.S. Amateur, and British Amateur.

 

Spieth breaks the PGA TOUR record for most money won in a season with $12,030,465. Vijay Singh (2004) held the previous record with $10,905,166. The difference is $1,125,299.

 

Spieth is the first player to win the Masters and TOUR Championship in the same season.

 

Spieth is the third player to win the U.S. Open and TOUR Championship in the same year, joining Curtis Strange (1988) and Retief Goosen (2004).

 

Spieth’s win marks the 24th victory by a player in their 20s on TOUR this season, which is the most on TOUR dating to 1970. The previous record of 23 was set in 1974.

 

Most wins on TOUR by a player 22 and younger: Horton Smith (14), Tiger Woods (7) and Jordan Spieth (6).

 

Spieth returns to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. This marks the first time that the No. 1 ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking has changed in six consecutive weeks.

August 23                                       Jordan Spieth

August 30                                       Rory McIlroy

September 7                                   Jordan Spieth (off week)

September 13                                 Rory McIlroy

September 20                                 Jason Day

September 27                                 Jordan Spieth

 

Spieth’s year-by-year results in the FedExCup: 2013/7; 2014/15; 2015/1st

 

Spieth at the TOUR Championship: 2013/T2; 2014/T27; 2015/Won

 

Spieth’s 2014-15 PGA TOUR Season starts-made cuts-top-10s-wins: 25-21-15-5

 

Spieth’s career PGA TOUR starts-made cuts-top-10s-wins: 83-68-32-6

 

Spieth’s Career PGA TOUR Victories (6):

2013 – John Deere Classic

2015 – Valspar Championship, Masters Tournament, U.S. Open, John Deere Classic, TOUR Championship

 

Today marked the seventh time Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson played together in an official PGA TOUR event. Spieth has had the better of Stenson in five of the seven meetings.

 

Spieth’s win marks the first time since 1973 that two players have five or more wins in the same season and the fifth overall dating back to 1960:

2015           Jordan Spieth               5                            Jason Day                    5

1973           Jack Nicklaus               7                            Tom Weiskopf              5

1971           Lee Trevino                  6                            Jack Nicklaus               5

1963           Arnold Palmer               7                            Jack Nicklaus               5

1961           Arnold Palmer               6                            Doug Sanders               5

 

About Jordan Spieth

Birthdate: July 27, 1993                                         Birthplace: Dallas, Texas

Resides: Dallas, Texas                                          Family: Single

Height/Weight: 6-1, 185                                         Education: University of Texas

Turned Pro: 2013                                                   Joined PGA TOUR: 2013

 

Two years ago, Spieth became the youngest to ever tee it up at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in 2013 at age 20; that year, he finished T2, thanks to a final-round 6-under 64 at East Lake, leading to a seventh-place finish in the FedExCup, the best performance by a rookie.

 

Spieth has converted his last four 54-hole leads on TOUR. Spieth’s 54-hole leads on the PGA TOUR:

2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions                T1               2nd

2014 Masters Tournament                                     T1               2nd

2014 THE PLAYERS Championship                       T1               T4

2015 Shell Houston Open                                       1                  P2

2015 Masters                                                        1                  Won

2015 U.S. Open                                                     T1               Won

2015 John Deere Classic                                       1                  Won

2015 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola               1                  Won

 

54-hole leaders who have gone on to win in the FedExCup Playoffs:

  • Jordan Spieth, 2015 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola
  • Jason Day, 2015 BMW Championship
  • Jason Day, 2015 The Barclays
  • Billy Horschel, 2014 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola
  • Billy Horschel, 2014 BMW Championship
  • Henrik Stenson, 2013 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola
  • Brandt Snedeker, 2012 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola
  • Justin Rose, 2011 BMW Championship
  • Jim Furyk, 2010 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola
  • Tiger Woods, 2009 BMW Championship
  • Steve Stricker, 2009 Deutsche Bank Championship
  • Camilo Villegas, 2008 BMW Championship
  • Tiger Woods, 2007 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola
  • Steve Stricker, 2007 The Barclays

 

Spieth’s position after 54 holes en route to his six victories: Come-from-behind (2), Tied (1), Led (3).

 

Jordan Spieth’s Statistics at the 2015 TOUR Championship:

Fairways Hit:                                  36/56              T7                                 

Driving Distance:                            282.1              16th

Greens in Regulation:                     47/72              T9

Total Putts:                                     111                 T3

Strokes Gained – Total:                  10.680             1st

Strokes Gained – Putting                7.040              1st

Scrambling:                                                           21/25           1st

 

The third-round leader/co-leader has won 19 of 29 times at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. The last was Billy Horschel in 2014 and Jordan Spieth in 2015.

 

The third-round leader/co-leader has won 20 of 46 stroke-play events this season, most recently Jason Day at the BMW Championship and Jordan Spieth this week at the TOUR Championship.

 

TOUR Championship winners by age:

Winners in their 20s:                       9

Winners in their 30s:                       16

Winners in their 40s:                       4

 

Henrik Stenson

Stenson held the first and second round leads before relinquishing the lead on the weekend to Jordan Spieth at the TOUR Championship. Stenson finished T2, four shots behind Spieth’s winning score.

 

Stenson’s year-by-year results in the FedExCup: 2007/39; 2010/141; 2011/180; 2012/111; 2013/Won; 2014/52; 2015/2nd.

 

Stenson at the TOUR Championship: 2013/Won; 2015/T2

 

Henrik Stenson Career PGA TOUR Victories (4):

2007 – WGC-Dell Match Play

2009 – THE PLAYERS Championship

2013 – Deutsche Bank Championship, TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola

 

Stenson entered this week ranked No. 4 in the FedExCup standings and finished No.2.

 

En route to his 2013 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola victory, Stenson held a four-shot lead over Dustin Johnson after 54 holes at East Lake Golf Club.

 

David Lingmerth’s win at the Memorial is the only victory by a Swedish player on TOUR this season. Sweden did not have a player win on the PGA TOUR last season (2013-14).

 

Nine players from Sweden have won on the PGA TOUR: Jesper Parnevik (5), Carl Pettersson (5), Henrik Stenson (4), Gabriel Hjertstedt (2), Daniel Chopra (2), Jonas Blixt (2), Freddie Jacobson (1), David Lingmerth (1) and Richard S. Johnson (1).

 

Stenson finishes the season as the highest-ranked player in the FedExCup standings without a victory in the 2014-15 PGA TOUR Season. Stenson had three runner-up finishes in the Playoffs this season (The Barclays, Deutsche Bank Championship and TOUR Championship) along with a runner-up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.                 

 

In eight career rounds at East Lake Golf Club, Stenson’s only two over par rounds came on the weekend this year (63-68-72-72).

 

Stenson, a native of Gothenburg, Sweden, is the only European player to win the TOUR Championship (2013) as well as the only European to win the FedExCup (2013).

 

Daniel Berger

Daniel Berger finished T12 at the TOUR Championship and No. 11 in the final FedExCup standings. Berger was the lone rookie and second youngest (Spieth) player in the field at age 22 years, 5 months and 18 days.

 

Berger finished solo-second last week at the BMW Championship to move from No. 46 to ninth in the FedExCup standings entering the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.

 

Berger lost in sudden death at The Honda Classic to Padraig Harrington earlier this season.

 

Each of the six rookies who previously qualified for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola also won Rookie of the Year honors:

Year             Player                               FedExCup Finish

2015            Daniel Berger                    11th

2014            None                                 –

2013            Jordan Spieth                    7th

2012            John Huh                          29th

2011            Keegan Bradley                 20th

2010            None                                 –

2009            Marc Leishman                 20th

2008            Andres Romero                 28th

2007            Brandt Snedeker               20th

 

Following a T10 finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Berger fell into a slump defined by seven consecutive missed cuts. Berger got back on track at the Deutsche Bank Championship, finishing T12 and moving from 54th in the FedExCup standings to 46th headed into the BMW Championship.

 

Berger made his way onto the PGA TOUR this season by virtue of his 28th-place finish on last season’s Web.com Tour priority list.

 

First Timers at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola

Nine players made their first appearance at the TOUR Championship this week:

Danny Lee                         T2

J.B. Holmes                                                          T8

Daniel Berger                    T12 (rookie)

Steven Bowditch                T12

Robert Streb                      T18

Brooks Koepka                  T18

Sangmoon Bae                  T18

Harris English                   T22

Kevin Kisner                      28th

 

Chad Campbell (2003), Bart Bryant (2005), Bill Haas (2011) and Henrik Stenson (2013) won the TOUR Championship in their first appearance (not including Tom Watson’s win at the first TOUR Championship in 1987).

 

Miscellaneous Notes

With Jim Furyk being forced to withdraw from the TOUR Championship due to a wrist injury, this is the first time in the event’s history that there was not a player in the field in his 40s dating back to 1987.

 

Tiger Woods has the most wins in FedExCup Playoffs events with three. Nine other players have two wins in the Playoffs: Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Camilo Villegas, Vijay Singh, Billy Horschel, Henrik Stenson and Jason Day.

 

Players who moved inside the top 30 in the FedExCup standings and into the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola field after the BMW Championship:

 

Player Before BMW After BMW Final FedExCup
Daniel Berger 46 9 No. 11
Scott Piercy 44 20 No. 22
Kevin Na 34 27 No. 25
Harris English 32 30 No. 28

 

Past FedExCup/TOUR Championship winners who made it to the final event in 2015 FedExCup Playoffs

Player                          Year Won         Final FEC                     Final standing in TOUR Championship

Henrik Stenson             2013                 2                                         T2                            

Brandt Snedeker           2012                 23                                T22                                    
Bill Haas                       2011                 27                                26th                          

 

Three PGA TOUR joined longtime supporter in putting their money where the birdies are in a show of support for the work of the East Lake Foundation, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Charley Hoffman, J.B. Holmes and Brandt Snedeker pledged to make a donation to the foundation for each birdie they made during the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.

 

Player                          RD 1                RD 2                RD 3                RD4     Total

Charley Hoffman           3                      0                      3                      6          12

J.B. Holmes                  5                      2                      4                      4          15

Brandt Snedeker           5                      2                      2                      3          12

Total                            13                    4                      9                      13        39

 

In addition, Alex Robertson and his wife, Alexandra, pledged to donate $1,000 per birdie made by the field of 28 players. Already the primary fundraiser for the East Lake Foundation, these additional contributions stemming from the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola will provide valuable resources to aid the foundation in efforts for holistic community redevelopment. In 2014, 385 birdies were recorded at the TOUR Championship and this year there were 369.

 

Four of the seven winners on the fall segment of the 2014-15 PGA TOUR Season finished inside the top 30 in the FedExCup: Bubba Watson (5th), Charley Hoffman (10th), Robert Streb (18th) and Sangmoon Bae (26th).

 

 

Top-10-finishes leaders (FedExCup Playoffs):

Name Top 10s
Jim Furyk 16
Steve Stricker 13
Dustin Johnson 12

 

Scoring Averages for the par-70 East Lake Golf Club:

                     Front 9             Back 9             Total                Cumulative

Thursday       34.690              35.204              69.894

Friday            35.714              35.893              71.607              70.735

Saturday        35.679              35.106              70.785              70.755

Sunday          34.715              34.677              69.392              70.417                        

 

Bogey-free rounds:

R1 – Zach Johnson

 

R2 – Jordan Spieth

R3 – None

R4 – Jimmy Walker

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