The FedEx Cup Playoffs’ focus has always been on money since its foundation in 2007, for two key reasons which are: It’s the easiest thing to keep track of and the biggest payout in golf.
The postseason winner will take home $15 MILLION. In line with that, there have been a lot of lucrative shots hit in these events through the years as the world’s best golfers have attempted to pad their bank accounts but also, there have been some costly bad shots as well.
Let’s have a look back at nine of the most painful (in the pocket) misfires in FedEx Cup history.
1. Dustin Johnson’s disastrous Sunday, 2016 Tour Championship
There were series of shots in which DJ blew a four-stroke lead over the front nine of the final round. To make the matter worse, he still looked like he would claim the FedEx Cup until a stunning late rally by Rory McIlroy that included a holed shot from 137 yards for eagle on No. 16.
Total damage: An amount equal to $8 million was lost for not winning the Tour Championship and finishing second instead of first in the final FedEx Cup standings. Incredibly, Johnson has won more tournament prize money during the playoffs, yet has never won the FedEx Cup.
2. Kevin Chappell’s badly-timed bogey, 2016 Tour Championship
Chappell made his third bogey of the week at the 17th hole. He still had a chance to win on No. 18, but he only parred the closing par 5 and was eliminated minutes later when he parred the same hole in regulation.
Total damage: Up to $2 million. Chappell couldn’t win the FedEx Cup, but a win would have earned him a $1.53 million first-place check, plus bumped him up higher in the final FedEx Cup standings.
3. Jason Day’s disastrous drive, 2016 BMW Championship
During the final round of the BMW Championship, Day injured his back (a recurring theme of his career) with his tee shot on the ninth hole.
He decided to WD rather than risk further injury. Total damage: An amount escalating to $12 million for a potential Tour Championship win that would have won him the $10 million bonus as well.
4. Billy Horschel’s chunk, 2014 Deutsche Bank Championship
Trailing Chris Kirk by one on the 72nd hole, Horschel hit a perfect drive that left him with only about 200 yards for his second shot on the closing par 5 at TPC Boston.
Total damage: Up to $840,000. Like Snedeker, though, it’s hard to feel too bad for Horschel. He recovered to win the next two events, including the Tour Championship, to become the lowest-ranked player entering the postseason (69th) to claim the FedEx Cup.
5. Tiger Woods’ back goes out, 2013 Barclays
Woods yanked his approach on the par-5 13th hole—and dropped to his knees in pain though he had a chance to win on the back nine at Liberty National.
Total damage: Fans did not know the actual cost but this would be the first sign of the back problems that would plague Tiger for the rest of his career. After his PGA Tour Player of the Year campaign in 2013, Woods barely played the next four years.
6. Hunter Mahan’s playoff bogey, 2011 Tour Championship
Hunter was perhaps a bit shaken up by what Bill Haas had done on the second sudden-death playoff hole: Poor Hunter. The dude was counting his money before Bill pulled off that miracle at from East Lake. Instead, he walked away with one of the most stunning defeats—and with a lot less money.
Total damage: About $9.6 million, or the difference between finishing seventh ($700,000) and first ($10 million), plus $564,000 for winning the tournament.
7. Steve Stricker’s mud ball, 2009 Tour Championship
You can recall Phil Mickelson topping Tiger Woods at the 2009 Tour Championship. Steve Stricker also had a glorious chance to steal the bigger prize pot without winning at East Lake. He was even projected to finish first, but a terrible approach (the AP’s Doug Ferguson reported mud on the ball affected the shot) on No. 16 during the final round led to a bogey and he never recovered.
Total damage: At least $8 million, or the difference between finishing third ($2 million) and first ($10 million). But Stricker is such a nice guy he’s probably happier his buddy won.
8. Brandt Snedeker’s four-putt, 2009 BMW Championship
All Snedeker needed was a two-putt from 14 feet but he did this:
Total damage: At least $350,000. The two-putt cost him $52,500. Not making it into the Tour Championship cost another $300,000 though he won the whole thing in 2012.
9. Sergio Garcia’s Kiss of Death, 2008 Barclays
In reality, it was a great shot/putt by Sergio. Garcia blew a kiss (above) to that year’s European Ryder Cup captain, Nick Faldo, who was up in the CBS tower after draining a 27-foot birdie to seemingly beat Vijay Singh in a playoff at Ridgewood Country Club.
Total damage: At least $644,000. That was the difference between winning and T-2, but had Garcia won, he could have claimed the FedEx Cup as well. As an alternative, Singh also won the next playoff event and then basically showed up to the final two to collect his $10 million.