Biggest Winners and Losers of the 2013 FedEx Cup

Richard Leivenberg@@richiemarketingContributor IIISeptember 22, 2013

Biggest Winners and Losers of the 2013 FedEx Cup

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    As golf’s biggest names tumbled down the leaderboard, a rejuvenated Henrik Stenson employed his cool demeanor and sweet swing to scorch the field and take the $10 million grand prize and the coveted 2013 FedEx Cup.

    While he was pushed by Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth on the last day, he basically turned the title run into a yawner by shooting 13-under to win the Tour Championship by three strokes. He also won the Deutsche Bank Championship on his way to the FedEx Cup title.

    The FedEx Cup may have seen a record-breaker in Jim Furyk’s 59 at the BMW Championship and the rise of some skillful and poised new young stars, but the statistically sound Stenson turned it into a benign event with his self-assured winning performance.

    Meanwhile, Player of the Year candidates Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were virtually nowhere to be found at the season-ending event. Woods, who began the playoffs in the No. 1 position in the standings, meandered his way through the series, including a highly unusual birdie-less round at the Tour Championship.

    Last year’s headliners Brandt Snedeker, who won the 2012 Cup, and Rory McIlroy, who finished second, also slid down the standings. In their stead, Zach Johnson, Stricker and Justin Rose played wonderfully and moved into the top 10.

    One hundred and twenty-five players entered the playoffs at The Barclays. Thirty of golf’s best played in the final tournament at East Lake. Stenson was the competition's big winner and has a massive check to show for it. Let's take a look at the other winners and losers from the 2013 FedEx Cup. 

    Projected FedEx Cup standings courtesy of

Winner: Dustin Johnson

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    Johnson began his 2013 season with a win and ended it with one of his best overall performances. In between, there was very little to talk about with only five top-10 performances and four missed cuts in 21 appearances.

    Johnson squeaked into the final tournament of the playoffs as the 30th player and then proceeded to bang his way to the top of the leaderboard.

    As it was, he rose from 30th to 13th in the rankings by finishing fifth at the Tour Championship at eight under.

Loser: Lee Westwood

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    Westwood’s FedEx Cup experience was somewhat reflective of his year; a series of up-and-down rounds that must have been very frustrating for the No. 17 golfer in the world.

    He limped through the first three legs of the playoffs, never doing better than a tie for 25th at the Barclays. He finished 67th at the BMW Championship and didn’t make it into the last round.

    Westwood’s poor play was probably related to a series of minor injuries that prevented him from playing at the top of his game.

    Whatever the case, it was not a winning performance.

Winner: Zach Johnson

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    One of the more welcome surprises of the playoffs was Johnson’s excellent play.

    After two wins last year, Johnson was having a pretty mediocre season until the early part of the summer, when he tied for second at the John Deere Classic.

    Then, somewhat quietly and methodically, like his game, Johnson came alive. Leading up to the playoffs he carded five top 10 finishes.

    After skipping the Barclays to attend his brother’s wedding, he warmed up at the Deutsche Bank Championship (tie for 27th) and then proceeded to win the BMW Championship.

    By the end, he had leapt all the way to fifth place in FedEx Cup standings after finishing in a tie for seventh at the Tour Championship.

Loser: Rory McIlroy

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    McIlroy’s difficult season did not stop at the FedEx Cup playoffs.

    Still looking for the consistency that brought him wins at both the Deutsche Bank and the BMW Championship and a second-place finish in the standings last year, McIlroy wandered through three rounds of the 2013 playoffs with barely a whimper.

    The young man who won four times last year, including the PGA Championship, could only muster one second-place finish and no wins this season.

    He will look to regroup heading into 2014.

Winner: Justin Rose

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    This year’s U.S. Open champ did not disappoint.

    Ranked third in scoring average, fourth in total driving and 11th in greens in regulation, Rose started off with a tie for second place at the Barclays and then finished in sixth place at the Tour Championship, assuring himself the 10th spot in the standings.

    For Rose, it was another excellent performance in a very memorable year.

Loser: Matt Kuchar

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    Kuchar, the even-keeled guy with the persistent smile, was neither here nor there during the playoffs. While he finished in a tie for fourth at the Deutsche Bank Championship, he never played well and he never played poorly after that. He just played.

    We expected more from the No. 7 player in the world. He dropped to sixth in the standings.

    Unfortunately, this is a disappearing act we tend to see from the unspectacular but highly talented Kuchar.

Winner: Adam Scott

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    When Scott won The Barclays, it looked like it might be clear sailing to a FedEx Cup title.

    The No. 2 player in the world was positioned perfectly to take home the FedEx Cup until he rang up a 74 in the third round of the Tour Championship that sent him reeling down the leaderboard.

    Scott may have lost his chance to win the FedEx Cup and even the Player of the Year Award due to a sudden illness that hurt his play at the Tour Championship.

    Still, he ended the playoffs in fourth place in the standings.

Loser: Phil Mickelson

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    Everyone would have loved it if Mickelson had had one of those miraculous, come-from-behind rounds that catapult him into the winner’s circle, but it was not to be.

    He actually did shoot a 65 on the last day of The Barclays, which lifted him into a tie for sixth, and he finished four under at the Tour Championship.

    But he played strictly lackluster golf in between.

    Mickelson’s magical year (the win at the British Open and the almost-win at the U.S. Open) came to a quiet close at East Lake. But this assuredly is not the last we have heard from Lefty.

Winner: Webb Simpson

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    When Simpson was selected to the President's Cup team, there were probably a few raised eyebrows to go with the choice.

    Last year's U.S. Open winner didn't win a tournament this year. His FedEx Cup playoffs were just so-so—that is, until he reached the Tour Championship, where he proceeded to light up the field. He shot a 63 on the final day and catapulted himself into fourth place.

    A very nice finish as he heads into team play.

Loser: Graeme McDowell

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    This was a wayward and highly unusual year for McDowell, who is considered one of golf’s premier players.

    And the FedEx cup was no different.

    McDowell, who missed five cuts during the season, muddled through three legs of the playoffs, exiting after a tie for 57th at the BMW Championship.

Winner: Jim Furyk

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    Furyk won the hearts and minds of players and fans alike when he shot a 59 on the second day at the BMW Championship.

    Although he was unable to parlay the amazing round into a win, the 43-year-old Furyk had an excellent playoff series, finishing tied for sixth at The Barclays, tied for 27th at the Deutsche Bank Championships and third at the BMW Championship.

    His tie for 14th at the Tour Championship saw him drop to the 14th spot in the standings. But for Furyk—and his 59—this will always be a satisfying playoff series.

Loser: Brandt Snedeker

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    It’s not that Snedeker played poorly. But he didn’t play great either.

    For a guy who entered the playoffs third in the standings, he just never made a concerted run.

    Sure, it would have been great for Snedeker to win back-to-back FedEx Cup titles, but he has the game to do it. He just didn’t have the magic this time around and ended the playoffs in 12th place.

Winner: Steve Stricker

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    Maybe it was that eagle putt Stricker made on the 15th hole on Sunday at East Lake, but the 46-year-old continues to wow us as he methodically takes apart a golf course.

    Stricker didn't even play in The Barclays. But he proceeded to show the youngsters how it was done by finishing second at the Deutsche Bank Championship and tied for fourth at the BMW Championship.

    All he's done this year is make every cut and finish in the top 10 seven times.

    Stricker's 65 on the last day of the Tour Championship pushed Stenson to the edge and almost won him the tournament. He finished in third place in the standings.

Loser: Tiger Woods

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    Woods entered the FedEx Cup playoffs in first place in the standings and left in second.

    But that does not tell the story.

    Although he finished tied for second at The Barclays, at no time after that was he ever a threat.

    In fact, he opened the Tour Championship with only his seventh birdie-free round in his professional career.

    Even with this less-than-stellar performance, Woods remains the odds-on favorite to win the Player of the Year award due to his five wins during the season.

    But, with the commanding lead he had in points going into the playoffs, Woods cannot be happy with his second-place finish.

Winner: Jordan Spieth

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    Get used to seeing Spieth’s name on the top rung of the leaderboard.

    The 20-year-old, who garnered his first win this year while still a teenager, turned the Tour Championship into a nail-biter when he posted a 64 on the last round to get within two strokes of Stenson.

    Spieth, whose FedEx Cup series included two finishes in the top five at the Deutsche Bank Championship (tied for fourth), is here to stay.

    In the end, Spieth moved all the way from 13th to seventh in the standings.

    He will be a welcome addition to the President's Cup team.