But let’s face it. While a champion may be crowned every year, not every champion is the same. With all due respect to Bill Haas, his lone victory en route to the 2011 FedEx Cup title doesn’t quite match up with the five wins, including two major championships, that Jordan Spieth racked up on his way to the 2014-15 crown.
And speaking of major championships, while one might think most FedEx Cup winners typically win one on the way to the season-long, it’s quite the opposite. Less than 20% of players to win the FedEx Cup won a major the same season. Unsurprisingly, those three players make up the top three on our list.
So without further ado, let’s begin our countdown as we rank every PGA Tour FedEx Cup champion.
16. Bill Haas (2011)
As mentioned in the intro, Bill Haas won just one tournament en route to winning the 2011 FedEx Cup title.
Granted, that one win was the Tour Championship, where he shot 8-under over 72 holes before defeating Hunter Mahan in a playoff. In 25th place in the standings when the finale began, Haas won the season-long title by just 15 points over Webb Simpson.
15. Justin Rose (2017-18)
Honestly, it’s often easy to forget Justin Rose won the 2018 FedEx Cup title, mainly because Tiger Woods captured his first victory in more than five years at the Tour Championship, where Rose tied for fourth.
But with two regular-season wins and a couple of runner-up finishes in the playoffs, Rose was 41 points clear of Woods in the final standings to collect an extra $10 million.
14. Billy Horschel (2013-14)
Coming into the 2014 FedEx Cup Playoffs, Billy Horschel hadn’t won once in the PGA Tour’s first-ever wraparound season.
But a tie for second at the Deutsche Bank Championship and victories at the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship were enough to win him the title as he bested second-place Chris Kirk by 1,650 points.
13. Brandt Snedeker (2012)
Following a solid 2012 regular season that included a victory at the Farmers Insurance Open, Brandt Snedeker entered the FedEx Cup Playoffs in 19th place in the points standings.
But a solo second at The Barclays vaulted him into the No. 2 spot behind winner Nick Watney. Despite a sixth-place finish at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Snedeker dropped to fourth, and a tie for 37th at the BMW dropped him to fifth heading into the Tour Championship.
And it was vital being in that spot as any top-five player to win at East Lake also won the FedEx Cup title, which is exactly what Snedeker did, firing rounds of 68-70-64-68 to win by three over Justin Rose.
12. Henrik Stenson (2013)
Despite not recording a PGA Tour victory during the 2013 season, Henrik Stenson entered the FedEx Cup Playoffs in the No. 9 spot in the points standings but dropped to 13th after tying for 43rd at The Barclays.
But the Swede vaulted into the top spot with a win at the Deutsche Bank, shooting an incredible 22-under at TPC Boston.
Stenson dropped to second behind Tiger Woods after tying for 33rd at the BMW but shot 13-under at East Lake to win the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.
11. Rory McIlroy (2015-16)
Rory McIlroy‘s path to the 2015-16 FedEx Cup title wasn’t easy as the Northern Irishman recorded no wins during the regular season and entered the playoffs in 36th place in the standings.
He didn’t do himself any favors by tying for 31st at the Barclays, which dropped him to 38th. Rory vaulted into the No. 4 spot with a two-shot win at the Deutsche Bank but dropped to sixth after tying for 42nd at the BMW.
Trailing by three shots with three holes to play at the Tour Championship, McIlroy magically holed out from 137 yards for eagle at the 16th and fought his way into a three-man playoff with Kevin Chappell and Ryan Moore.
On the fourth playoff hole, again playing the 16th, Rory holed a 15-foot birdie to clinch the tournament and the FedEx Cup title.
10. Dustin Johnson (2019-20)
The 2019-2020 PGA Tour season was certainly unlike any other, as COVID-19 caused several cancellations. With a win at the Travelers Championship, Dustin Johnson entered the FedEx Cup Playoffs in 15th place in the points standings.
But a blistering week at The Northern Trust propelled DJ to the top spot. Johnson shot 67-60-64-63 at TPC Boston to finish at 30-under, winning the tourney by a ridiculous 11 shots.
He finished solo second at the BMW after losing a playoff to Jon Rahm and cruised to a three-shot win at the staggered-stroke Tour Championship to claim the FedEx Cup title.
9. Jim Furyk (2010)
Jim Furyk earned two regular-season victories during the 2010 PGA Tour season and entered the fourth edition of the FedEx Cup Playoffs in third place in the points standings behind Ernie Els and Steve Stricker.
But his path to the title was made a bit more complex when he was disqualified from The Barclays for missing his pro-am tee time. And after tying for 37th at the Deutsche Bank and tying for 15th at the BMW, Furyk entered the Tour Championship in the No. 11 spot.
But the Pennsylvania native kept fighting and eked out a one-shot victory at the Tour Championship. And as top-seeded Matt Kuchar struggled and tied for 25th, Furyk eked out a FedEx Cup title win as well.
8. Vijay Singh (2008)
As the 2008 PGA Tour season wound down, Vijay Singh hadn’t yet recorded a victory despite having a solid year. But that all changed with a win at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational three weeks before the playoffs began.
Singh entered the FedEx Cup Playoffs in seventh position in the points standings, but it was really sixth. 2008, of course, was the year in which Tiger Woods, who would have been the No. 1 seed, was forced to miss the postseason after undergoing surgery following his miraculous win at the U.S. Open.
And Singh took advantage. He won The Barclays in a three-man playoff over Sergio Garcia and Kevin Sutherland and won again the following week at the Deutsche Bank, shooting 22-under for a five-shot victory.
Camilo Villegas gave Singh a run by winning both the BMW and the Tour Championship, but Vijay did just enough to secure the FedEx Cup title.
7. Rory McIlroy (2018-19)
Rory McIlroy’s path to his second FedEx Cup championship wasn’t nearly as difficult as his first, as he earned two regular-season wins during the 2018-19 PGA Tour season.
He entered the postseason in second place in the points standings behind only Brooks Koepka, who started the playoffs with three wins under his belt, including the PGA Championship. Despite a tie for sixth at The Northern Trust, McIlroy dropped to third and then dropped another two spots after tying for 19th at the BMW.
As the 2019 Tour Championship was the inaugural edition of the staggered-stroke format, McIlroy began the week five strokes behind top-seeded Justin Thomas. But that didn’t matter much as Rory shot 13-under over the four days at East Lake to win by four, becoming just the second two-time FedEx Cup champ.
6. Rory McIlroy (2021-22)
If this were a list of what a FedEx Cup title means overall to the sport of golf, Rory McIlroy’s 2021-22 championship would likely be No. 1, given the state of the game and what his win meant as it pertains to the PGA Tour-LIV Golf war.
But we’ve got to take emotion out of it and keep going with the numbers. Had Rory won a major championship, he’d easily be in the top five, but he comes up just short here at No. 6. It’s not as if he didn’t have a great year in the majors, finishing no worse than eighth in any of them, but his futility streak remained as he couldn’t quite get the job done.
McIlroy still picked up two wins during the regular season and entered the playoffs in the No. 6 spot in the FedEx Cup Standings. But he dropped three spots after missing the cut at the FedEx St. Jude Championship. But he came back with a T8 at the BMW to start the Tour Championship in the No. 7 spot.
McIlroy began the week at East Lake six shots back of Scottie Scheffler and faced the same deficit playing alongside the world No. 1 in the final group on Sunday. But he fought all the way back for a one-shot victory to become the first three-time FedEx Cup champion.
5. Patrick Cantlay (2020-21)
With victories at the Zozo Championship and the Memorial during the 2020-21 PGA Tour “super season,” Patrick Cantlay entered the FedEx Cup Playoffs in the No. 3 spot in the points standings, trailing only Collin Morikawa and Jordan Spieth.
He tied for 11th at The Northern Trust but still dropped a spot to No. 4, which didn’t end up being a big deal as he won the BMW Championship the following week in a playoff with Bryson DeChambeau, both of whom shot 27-under through 72 holes.
Cantlay finished off the best season of his career with a one-stroke victory at the Tour Championship over Jon Rahm to claim the FedEx Cup title.
4. Tiger Woods (2009)
ln the fourth spot is the second FedEx Cup win for Tiger Woods, who won five times in 13 starts during the regular season to easily take the top spot in the standings heading into the playoffs.
What makes that season all the more incredible is that Woods had undergone the surgery mentioned above the year before. So for him to come back and perform the way he did was magnificent.
Tiger opened the postseason with a tie for second at The Barclays and followed it up with a T11 at the Deutsche Bank, which actually knocked him down to second place.
But he then reeled off an eight-shot win at the BMW to reclaim the No. 1 spot and finished second to Phil Mickelson at the Tour Championship, which was good enough to secure the FedEx Cup title.
3. Justin Thomas (2017)
Justin Thomas came into the 2016-17 season with just one PGA Tour victory to his name. But by the time the season was over, that number had jumped to six.
First, he won a second straight CIMB Classic. A few months later, he went back-to-back in Hawaii, winning both the Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open. In August 2017, JT collected his first major, winning the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow by two.
Thomas entered the postseason in second place in the standings behind Hideki Matsuyama but dropped to third despite a tie for sixth at The Northern Trust.
He won the Dell Technologies Championship the following week but still only moved back to No. 2. Jordan Spieth, who started that week in second in the standings, was the runner-up and moved to No. 1. Spieth maintained his lead by tying for seventh at the BMW, while Thomas tied for 47th.
Despite his struggles at the BMW, Thomas entered the Tour Championship in second and finished as the runner-up to Xander Schauffele at East Lake. But since Spieth tied for seventh, JT jumped over his good buddy in the standings to get to No. 1.
Five wins — including a major and a playoff victory — and a FedEx Cup title is a pretty good breakout season.
2. Tiger Woods (2007)
Coming in at No. 2 on our list was the first FedEx Cup title won by Tiger Woods, which was also the first FedEx Cup title won by anyone.
As he did back in the day, Woods dominated the regular season, earning five victories, including the PGA Championship, to easily take the top spot in the standings heading into the postseason.
As his points lead was so big, Tiger chose not to play The Barclays but returned a week later to tie for second at the Deutsche Bank. And to ensure nobody even got close, Woods won the BMW Championship by two and the Tour Championship by eight to finish things off.
1. Jordan Spieth (2014-15)
I’m certain many would argue Tiger’s 2007 campaign should be in this No. 1 spot, but I couldn’t go against the 2014-15 season of Jordan Spieth.
Major championships matter — Tiger would be the first to tell you that — and Spieth won that two that year. He first tied Woods’ then-record low score at The Masters and followed it up with a one-shot win victory at the U.S. Open. And the Texan then finished just one shot out of a playoff at The Open Championship and was the sole runner-up at the PGA Championship.
On top of that, Spieth recorded victories at the Valspar Championship and the John Deere Classic, making him the easy No. 1 seed heading into the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which made his missed cut at The Barclays not that big of a problem.
Spieth then missed the cut at the Deutsche Bank, but tied for 11th at the BMW and entered the Tour Championship at No. 2 in the standings behind Jason Day. That’s how much wiggle room Spieth had. He missed two cuts, didn’t make the top 10, and still went to East Lake in second.
And it didn’t really matter anyway as Jordan took care of business in the season finale, shooting four rounds in the 60s en route to a four-shot victory and the FedEx Cup.
Stats courtesy of PGATour.com