Monday, September 26

We Understand. Bill Haas Won the FedEx Cup

BILL HAAS BOGEYED THE 18TH on Sunday and watched as Hunter Mahan made a scrappy par on the final hole to force a winner-take-all sudden-death playoff. That is, the man who prevailed in the fading light at East Lake would go home with both the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup, a $11.44 million jackpot.

A two-time winner on the PGA Tour, the talented Haas has had trouble finishing tournaments. His playoff record going into Sunday’s showdown with Mahan was 0-2. After getting to 10 under for the tournament and 4 under on his round with birdies at 13 and 15, Haas wobbled home with bogeys on two of the last three holes. He was nervous, and admitted it to NBC’s Jimmy Roberts. Who could blame him?

Then Haas did his best impression of Tiger Woods (when Tiger Woods was still Tiger Woods). He made two of the best up-and-downs you’ll ever see—on back-to-back playoff holes.

The lake shot beside the 17th green has been well chronicled. I figured Haas would get the ball up on the green 10 or 15 feet by the hole and have to sink a par-saver. Obviously, he did much much better than that.

But forget the lake shot for a second because there’s no lake shot without the all-world par at the long par-3 18th, where Haas fouled off another 4-iron down the right-field line. The above video shows what happened next—a delicate pitch and a sublime putt that rolled slowly on a left-to-right arc and fell into the heart of the cup. That putt was exquisite.

Then came the lake-hole magic and another gutty up and down from 50 feet on the playoff’s second visit to the 18th. Somehow Haas had won despite some swings he’d like to have back. To his credit, Mahan hung in there and dropped a few clutch putts to give himself a chance.

It was great stuff.

The fact that Haas apparently didn’t know he’d won the FedEx Cup until the trophy presentation made it even better. Yep.

“I saw Tim Finchem,” Haas told reporters. “I said, ‘I didn’t know I had won this [FedEx Cup trophy],’ and he was like, ‘Congratulations, you won both.’ That’s what he said, both are for you.”

Can you imagine hearing “you won both”—and not having to wake up?

−The Armchair Golfer


Anonymous said...

Well played Bill.
From the inception of the golf season this Bill Hass has been playing really well.

brianpenn said...

Very well done by Haas but something is still wrong with the format if the tournament winner doesn't know he's won the FedEx Cup as soon as the last putt drops. This combo thing still doesn't work for me. Do a winner take all for the final tournament and FedEx Cup and make that clear.