By Paul Myers
The Tour Championship at East Lake GC marked the completion of the FedEx Cup for 2016, and what an event it was. In the end, Rory McIlroy managed to take the title for the week, and in the process, also was able to secure the FedEx Cup Trophy – and a nice little $10 million prize as well. While Rory’s performance is nothing to overlook, the headlines were stolen in many ways by American Ryan Moore. Moore shot a final round 64 to shoot up to the top of the leaderboard, and he had a putt on the 18th green to win the tournament in regulation. The putt would spin out, however, and Moore would wind up losing a four-hole playoff to McIlroy.
A Great Consolation Prize
Of course, Moore would have loved to win the tournament, as it would have been the biggest win of his career to this point. With that said, the loss did come with a nice consolation prize – a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. With one spot left available on the team, Captain Davis Love III rewarded Moore for his hot play over the last few weeks. Many observers had assumed that the spot would go to Bubba Watson, but Love decided to take the hot hand in Moore. Of course, the U.S. team has been dominated recently by the Europeans at the Ryder Cup, so it will now be up to Moore and the other 11 players on the U.S. side to turn around that trend.
Wrong Way for DJ
The other story of the final day at East Lake GC was the fade of Dustin Johnson. With a win, Johnson would have taken home the FedEx Cup trophy for himself, but instead, Johnson finished with a 73 – the worst score in the field for the final round. This was a surprising turn of events, as Johnson had proven throughout the season that he had left his final round demons in the past. Most notably, Johnson was able to close the deal to take home his first major at the U.S. Open, but the final round struggles he had endured previously popped up again in Atlanta. In terms of the Ryder Cup, the U.S. team will need to hope that the disappointment from coming up short at the Tour Championship doesn’t carry over into this week for Johnson.
With the completion of the Tour Championship, it is finally time for the Ryder Cup to commence. For an event that only takes place every other year, there is plenty of buildup and preparation that goes into this competition. Going into the matches at Hazeltine National, the European team has to be considered a strong favorite – even though the competition is being held on American soil. While there is significant talent on the American side, including Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, and others, the European team seems to be stronger from top to bottom. Included on the European side are Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Danny Willett, Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer, and more. Anything can happen over three days of golf, but the clear edge goes to the Europeans ‘on paper’. Regardless of the outcome, drama is guaranteed to be offered up over three days of play in Minnesota.