Sep 23 2012
American Brandt Snedeker heads into his Ryder Cup debut an incredible £7million richer after a day to forget for Rory McIlroy in Atlanta - even though it earned the world number one over £2million.
After 11 successive rounds in the 60s, Northern Ireland's 23-year-old superstar closed the Tour Championship with a 74 and so missed out on the £6.1million FedEx Cup bonus.
Snedeker took that and the tournament first prize of almost £900,000 by three strokes from England's Justin Rose - the perfect confidence-booster before he moves on to Chicago to face Europe.
McIlroy had won the two previous play-off events and so took a points lead into the showdown, but the system was such that fifth-placed Snedeker knew if he won at East Lake he grabbed golf's biggest jackpot.
Joint overnight leader with Rose, the 31-year-old from Nashville had a nasty moment when he went in the lake on the dangerous short sixth and double-bogeyed, but McIlroy had done the same moments before. Snedeker, one of the sport's great putters, came back by holing from nearly 40 feet at the eighth and 18 feet on the 13th.
Still there was work to be done as Ryan Moore caught him with birdies on his own at the 14th and 15th, but Snedeker matched the second of those as Moore bogeyed the next and the issue was effectively settled when he chipped in at the 17th.
Rose, meanwhile, had also birdied the 15th and took second place after Moore dropped two more shots at the end and he made a 14-footer for par on the last. Snedeker hit his tee shot into the grandstand there, but it was the best bogey of his life.
McIlroy finished the week in a share of 10th place, still good enough to make him second in the final play-off standings - Tiger Woods could have denied him that, but shot 72 - and so pick up a cheque for £1.8million in addition to his tournament winnings.
McIlroy said: "I just said to Justin I wish he had done me a favour." A Rose victory would have given his cup team-mate the FedEx Cup title.
He added: "I have to stay positive. It's been a great year and I've had three wins starting at the PGA Championship. I knew if I won this week I won the whole thing, but Brandt knew the same thing and he did what he needed to do. He played fantastic out there."