The final leaderboard for the 2016 TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia is in. Rory McIlroy rallied late to make it into a three-way playoff with runner-ups Ryan Moore and Kevin Chappell; Chappell was eliminated after the first hole, while McIlroy was able to put it away with a birdie on the par-4 16th and take home both the championship trophy and the FedExCup. Mere hours after the conclusion of the tournament, the golfing world and the world at large was shocked to learn that “The King” Arnold Palmer, 87, had passed away. Below is the truncated top-10 leaderboard:
(1) Rory McIlroy (-12)
(T2) Ryan Moore (-12)
(T2) Kevin Chappell (-12)
(4) Paul Casey (-9)
(5) Hideki Matsuyama (-6)
(T6) Justin Thomas (-5)
(T6) Dustin Johnson (-5)
(T8) Adam Scott (-4)
(T8) Jason Dufner (-4)
(T10) Si Woo Kim (-2)
(T10) Gary Woodland (-2)
(T10) Bubba Watson (-2)
(T10) Emiliano Grillo (-2)
(T10) Charl Schwartzel (-2)
Here are some statistics on the champion and other notables near the top of the leaderboard, as well as some thoughts on Palmer’s death:
Winner: Rory McIlroy (-12) – This marks McIlroy’s second playoff win of the season (the other being the Deutsche Bank) and second win of the 15-16 season overall — aside from a few top 10s in majors and other events, he has not done particularly well until recently. McIlroy does seem to have a history of shining late in the season; take 2012 when he won the PGA Championship and two playoff events. This is his first FedEx Cup win, 13th PGA Tour win and first TOUR Championship win. It comes off the heels of a T42 at the BMW Championship. McIlroy has also done quite well historically at East Lake, with previous results of T16 in 2015, T2 in 2014 and T10 in 2012 (did not qualify in 2013). With the win this week along with the win at the Deutsche Bank, the FedExCup and the consistent high finishes throughout the season, McIlroy becomes a pretty strong candidate for Player of the Year honours.
Final round: 5 birdies, 1 bogey and an eagle for a 6-under 64. He was able to catch the leaders after a stellar back nine: birdies on 10 and 11, a hole-out eagle from the fairway on 16 and a clutch up-and-down for birdie on 18. A birdie from medium-range on the green of the fourth playoff hole secured his victory. Scores in regulation: 68, 70, 66, 64 (268). Playoff results: 4, 5, 3, 3 (Win)
Ryan Moore (-12) – This performance comes off the heels of a T64 at the BMW, a pair of top-10 finishes at the Barclays and Deutsche Bank, and a win at the John Deere Classic in August. It earns him a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team as a captain’s pick. Watch for this guy to potentially do some great things down the road.
Final round: 6 birdies for a 6-under 64. He missed an 8-footer for birdie on the last that would have won him the tournament outright. Scores in regulation: 70, 68, 66, 64 (268). Playoff results: 4, 5, 3, 4 (Eliminated)
In other news: Arnold Palmer, also known as “The King of Golf”, passed away in Pittsburgh on September 25. He was 87 years old. He was arguably the most influential figure in the game and his legacy will be remembered forever. Expect tributes, remembrances and discussions on news shows, particularly the Golf Channel (which he co-founded), in the weeks to come.
Here’s a tweet from Tiger regarding the news:
Thanks Arnold for your friendship, counsel and a lot of laughs. Your philanthropy and humility are part of your legend.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) September 26, 2016