The shortened 2019 PGA Tour has ended with Rory McIlroy’s win at the new-look Tour Championship to claim a cool $15 million for winning the FedEx Cup. The 2019/2020 PGA Tour starts fast as the new year-long PGA Tour kicks off but before the golf world returns to tournament play let’s look back on some of the highlights of the past PGA Tour.
Tiger Wins the Masters
Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox
Tiger Woods has dealt with multiple serious injuries in his last few years, especially back problems that have required multiple surgeries. Most people have been quietly questioning whether it was time for Woods to put an end on his remarkable career and enjoy retirement. Woods himself wondered if he would ever play again due to the extreme back pain he felt. Instead, Woods came back from injury and proved all doubters wrong by winning his 5th Masters in dramatic fashion, coming from behind on the final day. The iconic image of Woods shouting to the heavens shows just how much the win meant him.
photo credit: Rob Carr
From one of the highpoints of the season we go to arguably the scandal of the season. Which is saying something as we saw multiple players lambasted for slow play and multiple Sergio Garcia breakdowns. But the real drama of the year was what Matt Kuchar paid his fill-in caddie after winning the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Using a local caddie named David “El Tucan” Ortiz, Kuchar pocketed $1.3 million in winnings. While the standard cut regular PGA Tour caddies enjoy is around 10%, Kuchar famously handed Ortiz $5,000 and left with the rest. Following a serious backlash, the initially defiant Kuchar eventually would pay Ortiz $45,000 for his services.
One for the Rookies
Im Sungjae. Getty Images
This year saw the rise of several notable PGA Tour rookies. Im Sungjae was the only rookie to make it to the Tour Championship and can boast seven top-10 finishes and around $3.5 million in earnings and a T18 finish in the final FedEx Cup standings. Other rookies who performed well include 3M Open winner Matt Wolff and Barracuda Championship winner Collin Morikawa. Amateur Viktor Hovland also had a great year that saw him set the record for an amateur at the U.S. Open before turning professional and earning his PGA Tour card for 2020. Great things will be expected from these players going forward.
Shane Lowry show Luck of the Irish
In the first Open Championship held on the island of Ireland in 68 years, it was the unheralded Shane Lowry who took home the glory. The Irishman led the tournament wire-to-wire, with a third round 63 good enough to see Lowry boast a 4 shot lead heading into the final day. Lowry held his nerve for the most impressive win of his career. It was a moment of great triumph that was widely applauded by fellow professionals and fans alike.
Rory McIlroy Takes Home the Cup
USA Today Sports Images
And last but certainly not least, Rory McIlroy’s season was one to watch. Many questioned whether McIlroy could handle pressure after a few near misses of the podium and especially after failing to make the cut at the British Open played in his native Northern Ireland. However, the numbers speak for themselves: this season Rory won the Players Championship, the Canadian Open and the Tour Championship, had 14 top 10s, won the Vardon Trophy and all in 19 starts. McIlroy’s triumph in the Tour Championship is also noteworthy because he shot the lowest 72 hole score and didn’t need the new strokes added system to secure his win. He may be criticized for not winning in the majors, but no one can claim that McIlroy isn't one of the best golfers on the planet right now.