Viktor Hovland became the third-youngest player to win the FedEx Cup, the prestigious season-long competition on the PGA Tour, after a dominant performance at the Tour Championship in Atlanta on Sunday. The 25-year-old Norwegian shot a final round of 3-under 67 to finish at 27 under par, five strokes ahead of his closest rival, Xander Schauffele of the United States.
Hovland, who entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed after winning the BMW Championship last week, also joined Tiger Woods, Billy Horschel and Patrick Cantlay as the only golfers to win both the BMW Championship and the FedEx Cup in the same season. He also became the first player from Norway to win either of those titles.
“It’s just pretty surreal to be standing here right now, you know, playing basically my best golf the last two weeks and couldn’t have happened at a better moment in front of all these people,” Hovland told the CBS broadcast after the end of the PGA Tour finale.
A weather delay and a late challenge
Hovland started the final round with a six-stroke lead over Schauffele, which tied the largest 54-hole lead in the FedEx Cup starting strokes era. However, he had to endure a one hour and 53-minute weather delay due to thunderstorms in the area, which interrupted his momentum and gave Schauffele a chance to mount a comeback.
Schauffele, who won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this month, birdied seven of his first 12 holes to cut Hovland’s lead to three strokes. He also made an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole, where he holed out from 117 yards.
However, Hovland remained calm and steady, making four birdies and no bogeys in his round. He also regained his five-stroke cushion with birdies on the 16th and 17th holes, before closing out his victory with another birdie on the 18th hole.
Schauffele finished in second place at 22 under par, while Wyndham Clark, who won the US Open in June, finished in third place at 16 under par.
A lucrative payday for Hovland and others
The Tour Championship was not only the culmination of the PGA Tour season, but also a lucrative payday for the top golfers in the world. The tournament had a whopping $75 million prize pool, with $18 million going to the winner.
Hovland’s $18 million check was more than double his previous career earnings on the PGA Tour, which stood at $8.7 million before this week. He also moved up to No. 3 in the world rankings, behind Jon Rahm and Dustin Johnson.
The second and third place finishers also received hefty sums, with Schauffele earning $6.5 million and Clark earning $5 million. Even the golfer who finished in 10th place, Rory McIlroy, netted $1 million.
With no cut this weekend, all 30 players who qualified for the Tour Championship earned some prize money, with the 30th-placed golfer, Kevin Na, receiving $500,000.
A thrilling season of golf
The FedEx Cup playoffs were a fitting end to a thrilling season of golf, which saw many memorable moments and milestones. Some of the highlights included:
- Hideki Matsuyama becoming the first Japanese player to win a men’s major championship at the Masters in April.
- Phil Mickelson becoming the oldest player to win a major championship at age 50 at the PGA Championship in May.
- Jon Rahm winning his first major championship at the US Open in June, after testing positive for Covid-19 and withdrawing from a six-shot lead at the Memorial Tournament two weeks earlier.
- Collin Morikawa winning his second major championship at age 24 at The Open Championship in July.
- Xander Schauffele winning the Olympic gold medal for men’s golf in Tokyo in August.
- Patrick Cantlay winning four times on tour, including two playoff events and a thrilling duel with Bryson DeChambeau at the BMW Championship.
- Viktor Hovland winning three times on tour, including two playoff events and the FedEx Cup title.
The PGA Tour will resume its new season next week with the Fortinet Championship in Napa, California.