Celebrating 20 years at East Lake Golf Club
Part IV, Winners
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
This year, the TOUR Championship will be celebrating the 20th playing of the event at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, GA. To commemorate this milestone, we’ll be diving back into the archives for some of the greatest moments, records, winners and statistics.
Only two past champions hold the lowest finishes by a winner at East Lake Golf Club. Both Retief Goosen (2004) and Rory McIlroy (2016) shot a final-round 6-under 64 to capture their victories at the TOUR Championship.
Goosen entered the final round of the 2004 event four-strokes behind leaders Jay Haas and Tiger Woods. Goosen collected six birdies en route to his 6-under 64 to win by four strokes over Tiger Woods. The victory marked his second TOUR win of the season.
Entering the final round of the 2016 event two-strokes behind leaders Kevin Chappell and Dustin Johnson, McIlroy carded one eagle (No. 16) and five birdies to force a three-way playoff and ultimately win his first career TOUR Championship and FedExCup title in dramatic fashion.
From Start to Finish
In 2013, Henrik Stenson became the first wire-to-wire winner (no ties) at East Lake Golf Club. Stenson’s rounds of 64-66-69-68 kept him ahead of the other 29 players in the field from start to finish. Stenson held off a brief challenge by 20-year-old Jordan Spieth and closed with a 2-under 68 to win the TOUR Championship and FedExCup title by three shots over Spieth and Steve Stricker.
“I’m speechless. It was a tough day out there,” said Stenson. “To hang in there the way I did, I’m really satisfied… It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I had to fight hard mentally to keep all this aside, and I managed to do that.”
The Swede finished at 13-under 267 to become the first European to win the TOUR Championship and the FedExCup. The victory marked his second win in three tournaments of the 2013 FedExCup Playoffs.
It's Not Over Until the Final Putt Drops
A remarkable year for Camilo Villegas: 2008. The Colombian clinched his second successive PGA TOUR victory by beating Sergio Garcia in a playoff for the season-ending TOUR Championship title. The biggest “woah factor” of it all was Villegas came from five-strokes behind Garcia to capture the victory, marking the best come-from-behind win in East Lake history.
Villegas entered the final round in 2008 at 3-under 70, five strokes behind Garcia’s 8-under 70 lead. Villegas overcame 2 bogeys and one double bogey with eight birdies in the final round to force a playoff with Garcia, who struggled to a one-over 71 before making bogey on the first playoff hole.
So nice, they've won twice at East Lake...
The list for multiple winners at East Lake Golf Club is short, but mighty as only three – yes, three – players have won more than once in Atlanta.
Only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy have won the TOUR Championship twice at East Lake Golf Club. Mickelson was the first to win twice at East Lake with his first win coming in 2000 and his second in 2009, both of which were victories over Tiger Woods.
Woods secured victories at East Lake in 2007 and 2018, with the latter marking his 80th career PGA TOUR victory. In 2007, Woods captured his first TOUR Championship and FedExCup title by eight strokes over Mark Calcavecchia. Wood’s 2018 win marked his first career win in more than five years. The emotional victory inched him closer to all-time TOUR victories leader Sam Snead (82) and completed one of the biggest comebacks in sports.
McIlroy’s two victories at East Lake Golf Club happened just a mere three years apart (2016, 2019) as he became the only player besides Tiger Woods to win two career FedExCup titles. The Northern Irishman’s 2016 win came in dramatic fashion after he forced a three-way playoff to capture the victory over Kevin Chappell and Ryan Moore. In 2019, McIlroy outlasted Xander Schauffele, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas to claim his second FedExCup title at East Lake.
Wait, he was how old?!
In 2015, Jordan Spieth became the youngest player to win the TOUR Championship and the FedExCup title at East Lake Golf Club. Spieth closed with a 1-under 69 for a four-shot victory over Danny Lee, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson to become a TOUR Championship and FedExCup winner at just 22 years old. The victory, his fifth of the year, capped off a dream season for Spieth.