Henrik Stenson capped off a magnificent stretch of play to close out the PGA Tour season, winning the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup title on Sunday at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga.
The stunning resurgence Stenson has experienced this season is a fantastic storyline in and of itself, as the talented 37-year-old Swede has returned to golf's elite and established himself as a legitimate superstar.
Fellow world-class player Ian Poulter has been effusive in his praise of Stenson on social media, appreciating how he battled back from a big slump to get back to the top of golf:
Plenty of other fascinating storylines unfolded in the final stretch of the 2013 campaign, though.
Jordan Spieth's rise from no tour status to the unchallenged rookie of the year wasn't least among them, as the 20-year-old tied Steve "Mr. September" Stricker for second place at East Lake and wound up seventh in the final FedEx Cup standings.
Below is an overview of the final points listing, followed by a more detailed analysis of Stenson, Spieth and the other exciting subplots in pro golf that unfolded in the postseason.
|26||Brendon De Jonge||503|
Stenson's Stock at an All-Time High
After dropping to as low as No. 230 in the world last year, Stenson has come back with a fury in finishing runner-up at the British Open, third at the PGA Championship and in winning two FedEx Cup events.
Kelly Tilghman of Golf Channel highlights all the incredible finishes Stenson has enjoyed in the high-profile events he's teed up in most recently:
Henrik Stenson's last 8 worldwide starts: 3rd-2nd-T2-3rd-T43-1st-T33-1st #comebackcomplete— Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) September 22, 2013
Stenson finished the Tour Championship tied for the lead in greens in regulation, tied for third in driving accuracy and second in strokes gained putting, the latter of which is usually his kryptonite.
There weren't many flaws to poke at for Stenson in Atlanta, nor were there in his super performances throughout the last few months.
Now he's ascended to No. 4 in the world, according to Alan Shipnuck of Sports Illustrated. That matches his previous career-best, but this is a golfer who's fallen from grace and rebounded to come back stronger than ever.
Although Stenson has never won a major championship, he figures to have a great chance at those marquee tournaments in 2014 if his form to end this season is any indication.
Spieth Soars Among Golf's Biggest Stars
Plenty of promising young golfers flame out under the pressure and intense competition of pro golf's top circuit—or at least struggle before their primes hit. That's not the case with Spieth.
The tidiness of his short game has been impressive, because that's an area of the game that is most often conquered best by seasoned veterans. Spieth looks like a seasoned veteran, and his forward-press, cross-handed putting style served him well under even the most intense pressure.
It seems that the bigger the stage, the better Spieth plays. That's a rare ability for even the best players, much less those who are barely out of their teens.
Golf legend Gary Player chimed in to congratulate the youngster:
Very impressive @JordanSpieth round today & all the best to you my friend. What a season. You have a bright future & I wish you well. Gary— Gary Player (@garyplayer) September 22, 2013
Spieth is mature beyond his years, and sports a combination of distance, pinpoint iron play and a knack for holing timely putts. He made four straight birdies on the back nine in Sunday's final round en route to a six-under-par 64.
Check out how well he's already closing tournaments out:
|John Deere Classic||65 (-6)||Won|
|Wyndham Championship||65 (-5)||2nd|
|Deutsche Bank Championship||62 (-9)||T-4th|
|TOUR Championship||64 (-6)||T-2nd|
There is something special about Spieth, and it's pretty safe to say that he's living up to the deserved hype. He will run away with the Rookie of the Year award and will undoubtedly be a factor for years to come.
Tiger Woods' Tank on Empty
It was a rather successful year for Woods as he won five tournaments, but didn't come away with any majors and faded down the stretch of the FedEx Cup.
Credit to the world No. 1, though, who didn't throw in the towel and fired a three-under 67 on Sunday to finish in a tie for 22nd in the Tour Championship.
After the round, Woods discussed how he was pleased overall with the year and proud of the way he has ground through days where he simply didn't have his A-game:
When Woods finished the final five holes in six over par on Friday, he admitted he "ran out of gas." The effects of a long season and a long list of health ailments may finally be catching up to him at age 37.
Who will win a major next?
Woods last won a major at the 2008 U.S. Open and did look as though he couldn't finish the season as he'd have liked to in Atlanta.
The grind of that so-called major "drought" has to be part of what's weighed on Woods, but he reascended to No. 1 in 2013 when it looked like Rory McIlroy would run away as the dominant force in the game.
He may be tired and weary at the moment, but look for Woods to come back as strong as ever and win even more tournaments next season—perhaps even major No. 15.