Mickelson takes out Tiger
Phil Mickelson came from behind to beat Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship, but Woods has secured the FedEx Cup.
A relieved Phil Mickelson rounded off a difficult year away from golf on a massive high on Sunday when he came from behind to beat Tigerc Woods, one of golf’s greatest-ever front runners, in the Tour Championship in Atlanta, Georgia.
The World Number One didn’t go away empty handed, though.
Indeed, as the winner of the Fedex Cup, the season-long series that climaxed with the Tour Championship, he took away from storied East Lake Golf Club considerably more money than Mickelson.
Ten million dollars, to be exact, to the $1.35 Mickelson secured for winning the Tour Championship and another $3 million for finishing second to Woods in the FedEx Cup
Mickelson, who had opened the week with a disappointing three-over-par 73, began the day at four under par and four shots behind overnight leader Kenny Perry and two behind Woods.
But the World’s top left hander eclipsed both men with a superb, closing five-under-par 65 to grab a title that looked way out of his reach aftrer the first round.
Perry fell away with a 74 but Woods’ respectable level-par 70 gave him second place and his runner-up finish was good enough to maintain his lead in the FedEx Cup standings at the end of a PGA Tour season which saw him win six times, having returned to the game in February after eight months out following reconstructive knee surgery.
The victory, meanwhile, propelled Mickelson from 14th to second in the FedEx Cup standings and almost certainly enabled him to leap-frog Steve Stricker and reclaim his second place on the World Rankings list.
It was his first win since taking the WGC-CA Championship at Doral in March and since wife Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer, a situation that saw the left-hander take time off in mid-summer as she began treatment.
It was during that time that Mickelson’s mother was also diagnosed with breast cancer.
“It really feels great to have won,” Mickelson said.
“It’s been a frustrating time the last few months and so to be able to come out and get somewhat in contention on a Sunday, four back, and then to be able to put together this round feels terrific.
“This wasn’t a banner year but this certainly makes it a better year than it was.”
Mickelson joked about leaving East Lake with less money than his great rival Woods.
“I don’t know if I understand this right, but I shot 65 and Tiger shot 69 and he gets a cheque for 10 million? I’m just kidding, I really enjoyed playing in the four FedEx Cup play-off events.
“I didn’t play well enough in the first three to give myself a chance and that’s what is cool about the play-offs.
“You’ve got to play well throughout the play-offs and for me, even though I didn’t win the FedEx Cup, I did win the last event of the year and I feel great about my game.”
Woods, while failing to win a major, took the FedEx Cup for the second time and said: “The whole idea is to be consistent for the entire season and try and position yourself for the play-offs.
“This year I’ve played well, I’ve been very consistent and when I didn’t win I was in the top 10 so I kept accumulating the points.
“I’ve played pretty good in the play-offs and been very consistent but I wish I could have got a few more big Ws this year.”
Sean O’Hair was third at five under with Perry sharing fourth place with Padraig Harrington, the Irishman securing his sixth consecutive top-10 finish after a miserable first seven months of the season.
Mickelson was the man to capitalise on Perry’s stumble, narrowing the lead to one shot with birdies at the third and fourth and pulling level with Perry at the eighth after sending his approach shot from 123 yards to inside two feet for birdie.
Mickelson, using a new stroke with a wide stance, was also putting superbly and he rolled in his 19th birdie of the week at the par-five ninth with his seventh one-putt in a row, a difficult downhill effort from 12 feet to take the outright lead at eight under.
Woods, at five under par, and in a tie for third with Sean O’Hair, after nine holes, and Steve Marino, after 10, was still in control of his FedEx Cup lead.
He parred his way through the rest of the front nine knowing Mickelson’s surge was helping him keep Perry at bay.
Mickelson all but secured victory when he chipped in for a birdie at the 16th to go to nine under, but Woods still had work to do after he fell to four under with a bogey at the par-four 13th where Perry imploded with a double bogey.
World number two Steve Stricker, also second in the standings, was breathing down Woods’ neck in the FedEx Cup race, having got to four under with a birdie, but his challenge disappeared with bogeys at the 16th and 17th.
Now it was all down to Woods and birdies at 15 and 16 moved him clear into second.
Luke Donald finished his Tour Championship on a high with his first under-par round of the week, a 69 to finish at eight over par.
271 Phil Mickelson 73 67 66 65
274 Tiger Woods 67 68 69 70
275 Sean O’Hair 66 70 70 69
276 Kenny Perry 72 66 64 74, Padraig Harrington (Irl) 67 69 71 69
277 Steve Stricker 70 72 66 69
278 Steve Marino 69 71 67 71, Jim Furyk 72 68 71 67
279 Ernie Els (Rsa) 71 66 71 71
280 Jerry Kelly 71 67 71 71, John Senden (Aus) 70 70 69 71, Lucas Glover 68 71 72 69
281 Nick Watney 70 69 71 71, David Toms 74 66 70 71, Angel Cabrera (Arg) 72 67 70 72
282 Zach Johnson 70 72 73 67, Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) 75 73 64 70
283 Y.E. Yang (Kor) 71 75 66 71
284 Jason Dufner 71 68 73 72, Stewart Cink 67 72 70 75, Heath Slocum 73 68 71 72
285 Scott Verplank 70 71 74 70
286 Retief Goosen (Rsa) 69 72 72 73
287 Hunter Mahan 71 73 72 71
288 Mike Weir (Can) 72 72 70 74, Luke Donald (Eng) 70 71 78 69
289 Dustin Johnson 69 74 73 73
292 Marc Leishman (Aus) 70 74 70 78, Brian Gay 72 72 76 72
293 Kevin Na 73 70 75 75
Local knowledge helps Robin Roussel claim a share of the Alfred Dunhill lead
Scotland’s Scott Jamieson lies a shot behind following a 66.
Paul Casey a surprise entrant for 2021 Saudi International
Casey opted out of the inaugural event in 2019, citing concerns over the country’s human rights record.
Joy, relief as golf courses in England given green light to reopen from December 2
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the good news on Monday.
Joachim B Hansen makes up for Italian Open disappointment with Joburg victory
The Dane withdrew from the final round in Italy after his caddie tested positive for Covid-19.
Joachim B Hansen launches late fightback to win Joburg Open
Hansen trailed by three shots with nine holes to play but won by two strokes.
Matt Wallace shrugs off loss of caddie to Covid-19 to grab share of RSM Classic lead
Wallace’s regular caddie, Dave McNeilly, tested positive for Covid but a local caddie was ready to step in.
Wilco Nienaber admits ‘it’s great to be home’ after strong first round
The South African fired an eagle, eight birdies and two bogeys in an opening eight-under-par 63.
From The Horse’s Mouth Podcast: Shane Lowry on Masters experience, playing with Tiger
Open champion Shane Lowry spills the beans on his Masters experience and playing three rounds with Tiger Woods.
Petition to exempt golf from lockdown set for Parliamentary debate next week
The document has received more than 257,000 signatures.