ATLANTA – For the second time in four years, Xander Schauffele played well enough to win the Tour Championship but went home a runner-up, albeit with $6.5 million in second-place winnings.
Despite a flawless 62 that included an opening-nine 30, Schauffele finished five shots behind Viktor Hovland, who completed a dominant fortnight with a 7-under 63 to claim the FedExCup.
“I’ll hold my head up high. It was the most fun I had losing in quite some time,” Schauffele said. “It’s such a weird feeling. I shot 62. I lost by five. Just kudos to [Hovland]. He played unbelievably well the last few weeks to get himself into this position and to really just put a cherry on top for himself and his team.”
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson will make his picks on Tuesday at noon ET. Players have done all they can. Now, they just have to wait for his call.
The Tour Championship moved to a starting-strokes format in 2019 that seeds players into the finale based on their position on the post-season points list. The FedExCup front-runner starts at 10 under followed by No. 2 on the list at 8 under down to even par for Nos. 26-30. Hovland began the week at No. 2 and 8 under, while Schauffele was 15th on the list and started 3 under.
Without the starting-strokes format, Schauffele would have finished 72 holes tied with Hovland at 19 under. It was a similar scenario in 2020 when Schauffele finished three shots behind winner Dustin Johnson but he would have won the event (at 15 under) had it not used the starting-strokes format.
Although Hovland won the FedExCup and its $18 million payday, he will split the first-place world ranking points with Schauffele. The world ranking doesn’t use the starting-strokes total to award points at the Tour Championship.