Five things we learned from the Tour Championship in Atlanta
Last Updated: 28/09/15 6:58pm
Mind-boggling sums of money, the battle for world No 1, and sporting gestures - here's five things we learned from the PGA Tour's season finale at the Tour Championship...
Is the Player of the Year debate over?
One of the biggest talking points heading into the Tour Championship was over who would succeed Rory McIlroy as the PGA Tour Player of the Year. Would it be Jordan Spieth, or the hot-hand of recent weeks in Jason Day?
It is clearly a two-horse race for one of the most prestigious honours of the year, and it now appears that Spieth has powered clear of Day over the final furlong following his convincing victory at the Tour Championship.
Spieth's four-shot win in the PGA Tour's season finale at East Lake swept him back ahead of Rory McIlroy and Day to the top of the world rankings as well as securing a $10m bonus for landing his first FedExCup crown.
It was a remarkable response from Spieth to missing back-to-back cuts for the first time in his career in the opening two events of the FedExCup play-offs, and capped a truly memorable year which yielded five victories worldwide - including the first two majors of 2015.
Day has been in sensational form in recent weeks, claiming his maiden major at the PGA Championship - one of four victories in his last seven starts, but he would be the first to admit that Spieth has been the stand-out player of the year.
It's a young man's game ... mostly!
For the first time since the inaugural FedExCup Play-Offs in 2007, the field for the Tour Championship did not contain a single player in his 40s - although, admittedly, this was partly due to the withdrawal of the injured Jim Furyk.
Henrik Stenson, who is 39 going on 29, did his best to keep the youngsters at bay, but he was unable to prevent Jordan Spieth's march to the title, a $10m payday, and the world No 1 ranking.
Spieth is 22, world No 2 Jason Day is 27 and Rory McIlroy is 26, while the likes of Rickie Fowler (26), Daniel Berger (22), Hideki Matsuyama (23) and Danny Lee (25) have enjoyed outstanding PGA Tour campaigns.
A quick peek at the final leaderboard for the weekend's European Tour event reveals a startling contrast.
Former Thai paratrooper Thongchai Jaidee won the Porsche European Open at the age of 46, and seven of the next 10 players on the leaderboard are comfortably the wrong side of 30 - with three in their 40s.
Veteran campaigner Bernhard Langer delighted his adoring home fans with a top-20 finish despite being 58 years of age, while Miguel Angel Jimenez continues to hold his own on the European Tour at a mere 51.
All change at the top
With Jordan Spieth reclaiming the world No 1 berth, we have now had six changes at the top of the world rankings in as many weeks.
Rory McIlroy was expected to remain at the summit for far longer than the year he managed, but a dip in form and then his unfortunate ankle injury ahead of the Open Championship allowed Spieth to catch up quicker than anticipated.
While McIlroy and Spieth were battling for the top spot, Jason Day propelled himself into the mix with his superb run of results, and the Australian's fourth win in six starts at the BMW Championship took him to world No 1 for the first time.
It is the first time since the world rankings were introduced that the No 1 berth changed hands in six consecutive weeks, a far cry from the spells of 264 and 281 weeks that Tiger Woods spent at the top.
Fair game at the FedEx?
Jason Day won The Barclays, finished tied for 12th at the Deutsche Bank Championship, won the BMW Championship and posted a top 10 finish at the Tour Championship.
Yet he still didn't win the FedExCup.
The man who did, Jordan Spieth, missed the cut at the first two events of the play-offs and finished tied for 13th in Chicago, but his win at East Lake earned him enough points to overhaul the Aussie and put a huge smile on the face of his bank manager.
The PGA Tour had been criticised in the past for the lack of drama in the FedExCup with not enough players in contention for the season finale, but has the pendulum swung too far in the favour of the Atlanta champion?
Big money putt
Henrik Stenson was a model of sportsmanship on Sunday, and his reaction to Spieth's huge birdie putt on the 11th green provided one of the enduring images of the final round.
The Swede was lining up a three-foot putt for a birdie after a sublime tee-shot when Spieth dropped a 46-footer for an unlikely two which temporarily took him three shots clear.
But rather than curse his bad luck, Stenson gave a wry smile and offered the young Texan a fist-bump before holding his composure to knock in his own putt.
Stenson's cool deserted him at the 17th, where he shanked his approach from the middle of the fairway and ran up an ugly double-bogey six which dropped him into a tie for fifth.
The Ryder Cup star needed a share of second to ensure second place in the overall FedExCup standings, but that looked a distant prospect when he tugged his tee shot to the last and left himself 57 feet from the pin.
Standing over a putt worth around £650,000 is a daunting prospect for even the most seasoned professional, but Stenson's ball found the middle of the cup - and it was nice to see Spieth return the sporting compliment by raising his putter in celebration.