ATLANTA — Henrik Stenson knows better than most players how it feels to go from the depths of a slump to the elite in golf.
He has done it twice now.
The second time was even sweeter — and richer.
Not even among the top 200 players in the world two years ago, Stenson capped off the best three months of his career with a command performance Sunday in the Tour Championship. With a birdie to thwart a late charge by Jordan Spieth, followed by three pars from the sand, the 37-year-old Swede closed with 2-under 68 for a three-shot victory to capture the PGA Tour playoffs' FedEx Cup.
He walked away with $11.44 million, $10 million for the FedEx Cup ($9 million of that in cash) and $1.44 million for winning the Tour Championship, the final of four playoff tournaments and the tour's season finale.
"It shows that I never give up," said Stenson, who finished at 13-under 267 and moved to No. 4 in the world. "This is way beyond what I could have imagined."
Spieth (64) and Steve Stricker (64) tied for second. Webb Simpson (63) was another shot back, alone in third.
Tiger Woods, the No. 1 seed going into the Tour Championship, never recovered from his 73-71 start. He closed with 67 to tie for 22nd at par 280 and wound up second in the FedEx Cup. That still was worth a $3 million bonus.
Woods wrapped up the PGA of America's points-based award for player of the year, and he captured the tour money title and the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring title. "Very satisfied," Woods said when asked about his season. "I had a number of chances to win some tournaments. I won five, which is, I think, a pretty good year."
Stenson became the first player to win the Tour Championship wire-to-wire with no ties since Tom Watson in 1987, the first year of the 30-man event.
Spieth, 20, made him work for it. He left one last impression on his remarkable rookie season by running off four straight birdies on the back nine at East Lake to pull within one shot after Stenson went well over the 14th green and made his long bogey.
Stenson could hear the cheers and knew what he faced over the last four holes.
He drilled a 3-wood into the fairway on the par-5 15th that set up an 8-foot birdie. Ahead of him on the 17th, Spieth was between clubs and chose to hammer a 9-iron that he caught heavy enough that it plugged in the front bunker. He made bogey.
"I was just looking up and seeing that I needed more instead of being satisfied with what happened," Spieth said of his four straight birdies.
Spieth wound up No. 7 in the FedEx Cup, the highest ever for a rookie. He began the year with no status on any tour and finished at No. 10 on the tour money list and No. 21 in the world.
CHAMPIONS: Mark Wiebe parred the second sudden-death playoff hole to edge Corey Pavin and win the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship in Kapolei. Pavin (69) and Wiebe (72) were tied at 11-under 205 at the end of regulation. After both parred the 18th, they returned to the hole and hit their approaches short, Pavin about 15 feet right of the pin and Wiebe over the fringe to 20 feet. Wiebe sank his putt, and Pavin missed.