The FedEx Cup is a well-received finale for golf’s regular season, where the best on Tour battle in ever-shrinking fields until just 30 remain for the last four rounds. And with a huge jackpot on the line ($10 million for the winner in 2016!), there’s no shortage of drama when they play at East Lake Country Club in Atlanta, Ga.
While golf fans know it’s a week-to-week sport, there are always heightened expectations for the winner heading into the first major tournament the next season: The Masters.
Rory McIlroy, himself looking to complete the career Grand Slam of golf by winning in Augusta, has the odds stacked against him for the 2017 Masters Tournament. That’s because far, no FedEx Cup champion has worn the coveted Green Jacket after the next year’s Tournament. See for yourself:
2008: Tiger Woods vaulted among the leaders in the third round, ending the day in sole possession of fifth place. But he was still six strokes behind Trevor Immelman, who’d fired three sub-70 rounds to open a large lead he’d never relinquish on the final day, winning by three over Woods.
2009: Vijay Singh started strong, sitting near the top of the Leader Board after round one, but he faded to a T-30 finish, ending a streak of nine consecutive top-20 Masters Tournament results.
2010: Woods hovered near the lead throughout the Tournament, firing his first opening-round score in the 60s at Augusta National. But Phil Mickelson wouldn’t be denied, besting Lee Westwood by three and finishing five shots ahead of Woods.
2011: Jim Furyk played consistent golf but never threatened, finishing T-24 for his 10th Top-25 finish in Augusta.
2012: Bill Haas, fresh off the first FedEx Cup victory determined in a playoff, came into Augusta hoping to maintain the momentum that vaulting him fro T-25 in the FedEx Cup standings to the winner. The Greenville, SC native struggled, however, finishing T-37.
2013: Brandt Snedeker continued the excellent play that gave him the 2012 FedEx Cup title, finishing day two of the Masters in a tie for fourth and going into the final round with a share of the lead.
But a final-round 75 bumped him out of the lead into a tie for 6th, his second top-six finish at Augusta National.
2014: Henrik Stenson, the recent The Open Championship winner, strung together four solid rounds but never truly threatened the lead while finishing T-14, his first top-15 finish in Augusta. Little did he know, he was in a stretch of four top-five major championship finishes over the course of two years before breaking through in 2016.
2015: Billy Horschel struggled, eventually missing the cut in just his second Masters appearance.
2016: Jordan Spieth, off a banner year where he won two majors and nearly held the FedEx Cup lead throughout the entire year before winning the finale, almost completed the first successful Green Jacket defense in Augusta since Tiger Woods in 2002. But as golf fans know, one poor hole in the final round changed everything, leaving too much ground to make up as Spieth finished in a tie for second, three strokes back of winner Danny Willett.
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Photo By TourProGolfClubs [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons