Justin Rose birdied the final hole on Sunday to win the season-long FedEx Cup title as Tiger Woods ended a five year drought for victory at the Tour Championship
Justin Rose became the deserved champion of the FedEx Cup on Sunday at East Lake, finishing in a tie for 4th and capping off an impressive season that recently saw him become World No.1 for the first time.
But Rose was the first to admit that it was a battle on Sunday until the very last, where he carded a must-make final-hole birdie to claim the season long race.
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"...definitely with five, six holes to play, it was pretty precarious," Rose said. "I was in a great position around the turn, and then things just got tricky out there.
"It's not easy to know you're not going to win a tournament and to try and play for a position on a leaderboard.
"I was kind of waiting for a break all day, waiting for a putt to drop or something good to happen, and it just wasn't really happening through the back nine. So it was nice to catch that break right at the end."
It had become very clear that Rose wasn't going to win the tournament early on as Tiger Woods increased his advantage over the field from the first, and by the ninth was ahead by five.
Meanwhile, Rose began faltering, dropping shots on 11, 14 and 16, which saw Woods momentarily projected to take home both the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup. He would have to settle for his PGA Tour win alone though, as Rose got a lucky jump forward on his approach shot to the par-five 18th and two-putted for birdie to win the trophy, and $10million dollar bonus.
The birdie put Rose in to a share of 4th with Hideki Matsuyama and Webb Simpson, having needed to finish inside the top five in the final event of the season to take the title. It was the last time the FedEx Cup will be worked out this way, as in 2019 the contest is set to undergo some dramatic changes.
Rose had been a consistent presence throughout the season, having posted 10 top 10s and a victory on the PGA Tour in 2018 alone - something he believes is the reason he won the FedEx Cup.
"I think the reason I'm sort of standing here today as FedExCup is largely to do with the consistency with which I've played, a ton of top 10s," Rose said.
"Obviously had a couple of wins on the PGA TOUR, as well, this year, and managed to keep that going into the Playoffs with finishing the year with three top 5s. There were a lot of scenarios at play. That's what the beauty of this format is. I think obviously for me this year it rewarded consistent golf.
"For me, I was trying to do my best to win this golf tournament and scoop the double jackpot. But far and away, being next to this trophy is something I'm very, very proud of."
Yet while Rose was the big money winner, even he was quick to conceed he wasn't truly the biggest story of the day.
That mantle belongs to Tiger Woods, who claimed his first victory on Tour since 2013, having come back to the sport after multiple injuries and surgeries.
Woods went wire-to-wire to win his 80th victory on the PGA Tour by two shots, something that seemed unimaginable even a year ago.
He began the day with a three shot lead and consolodated that instantly with an opening birdie to move four clear of Rose. By the ninth that lead was five, and would remain that way until Billy Horschel produced a late charge and Woods ended up with back-to-back bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes.
A scrambling par on the 17th gave Woods a two-shot cushion heading up the last, and after he found the fairway with his driver the scenes that quickly surrounded the final hole were something unfamiliar to golf for a long while.
Droves of spectators followed the final group up the fairway, and marshalls struggled to remain in complete control as people swarmed both Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy as they approached the green.
Woods was in the greenside bunker, but splashed out and two putted for par before raising up his arms triumphantly in the air while the crowds chanted his name.
Asked afterwards where this particular victory ranked among the others, he conceeded that he hadn't been sure that he was ever going to win again.
"I just can't believe I pulled this off," he said, acknowledging how unlikely this victory seemed just under a year ago. "It's been tough. I've had a not so easy last couple years.
"It's certainly up there with obviously all the major championships I've won, Players, World Golf Championships. But this is under different circumstances. You know, I've explained throughout the year that I just didn't know whether -- when this would ever happen again. If I could somehow piece together a golf swing this year, I felt like I could do it. My hands are good enough, and I just didn't know if I could piece together a golf swing.
"But somehow I've been able to do that, and here we are."