NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Keegan Bradley had reached a low point and crashed from the height of winning the PGA Championship to tumble out of the 100 in the world. His chances of representing American teams in the international game had dried up, his preferred method of legacy was forbidden, and the trust that once put him on the eve of greatness was shot down.
"It's scary when I look back, because I did not know I needed so much improvement," Bradley said.
He was like a scientist in the lab, changed his swing, his putting stroke, his basics – investing in the work needed to come where he was soaked on Monday Aronimink: taking it up against each other in a sudden death-play-off against the new number 1 player in the world, Justin Rose.
For a player who had to reinvent his game, the coupling moment did not seem so scary.
Bradley topped Rose with a par on the first play-off hole and won the rain-ridden BMW championship for his first PGA Tour victory in six years.
Bradley's fourth career victory meant a little more than the others – yes, even the major he won in 2011 – because he had more than one trophy and a $ 1.62 million check. He was also allowed to give his young son Logan a victory in the air on the 18th green for the first time. Bradley, who made a final lap 6-under 64 to finish at 20-under 260, put his arms toward the gray sky and drizzled the party and waved his family towards him.
"I've won before and I win and I finish, and I'm going home, just me," Bradley said. "Now I can go back and we can have fun and enjoy it together, it's just a very different experience."
Rose also left Aronimink with a new reality. Although he finished second at the FedEx Cup Playoff event, he did not fall short in the world rankings. Rose moved number one in the world for Dustin Johnson and became the 22nd player to reach the top spot since the ranking in 1986 began.
Rose could have won in regulation, but his 16-foot par-putt at the last hole managed to force the play-off.
He fell short again in the play-off and missed a par-putt of 5 feet that had kept him alive. The 38-year-old Rose loved suburban golf courses in Philadelphia with victories at the AT & T National 2010 in Aronimink and the 2013 Open on Merion.
Tiger Woods has qualified for the Tour Championship and the 2019 Open after his sixth place in the BMW Championship.
The bad performance of Jordan Spieth during the BMW Championship means he is not eligible for the Tour Championship.
He did not receive a trophy on this trip. But a number 1 ranking will do for Rose, who together with Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald as the only English reached the top position. He is the number 2 seed behind Bryson DeChambeau in the top 30 who left for the Tour Championship in East Lake in Atlanta on September 20 and gave him a clear chance of winning the $ 10 million prize.
"I am very happy that I am world number one," Rose said. "Boy dreams, do you know what I mean?"
Bradley also had a song in mind – 30. He started the week at number 52 and had to crack the top 30 to qualify for East Lake.
"A lot has happened to me during these six years," Bradley said. "I've fallen off the radar a bit for a while, and it's hard to go the Ryder Cup teams because I'm on the Presidents Cup teams to be out of the top 100 in the world."
Bradley, who birdied the 16th and 17th hole to make his move, ended with his fourth career victory and first since the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He gets a trip to Maui to start next year for the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
"I looked pretty good at the standings, normally not," he said. "I felt calm, which is rare, that was good."
Bradley had to wait almost two days before he chased Rose. Rain soaked the course on Sunday, causing the game to be canceled and the Monday finishing was forced. It rained only slightly on Monday and players had few complaints about the condition of the track, even if the hiking trails became a muddy, damp mess for the gallery.
As usual, it printed around Tiger Woods.
Woods caused some more noise – he has done a lot of work in the last few months for the biggest galleries on every track – and got a lead on the leading role when he fired the par-5 ninth to come out in 31.
But he missed the green at 10 and made bogey. He found a bunker on the par-3 14th for another bogey. And this was the kind of day when more than one mistake would be expensive. Woods ended with a 65 and ended three shots back.
That was the score at Aronimink that Woods had a 72-hole score of 263 for the sixth time of his career. He won the other five times; he got a draw for the sixth.
"I thought I had to photograph about 62 today to make a chance," Woods said. "And I do not think that would have been good enough."
Turns out that a 62 would have put him in the play-off.
Woods took away the tension about the fact that he returned to the Tour Championship for the first time since 2013. That was about just when he was just starting to suffer from back pain. He had his fourth back operation in April last year and last year he was just ready to chip and draw.
"To say that I am back in the Tour Championship after what I have experienced is a pretty good performance," said Woods.
Jordan Spieth will not participate. Spieth started 27th in the FedEx Cup standings and took a step back and ended with a 73 to score 55. He fell out of the top 30 and will miss the Tour Championship for the first time.
That means he only played 24 tournaments this season. Because he had not added his tournament to a tournament that he had not played in the past four years, he breaks the planning policy of the PGA Tour.
The fine can still be determined. Spieth is the first player to violate the policy that started last year.
"I clearly accept what it is and go on and try to add one every year, but it is quite difficult," said Spieth.
Bradley and Xander Schauffele, who once finished the play-off, landed in the top 30 to qualify for East Lake, and Emiliano Grillo joined Spieth as the two players who fell out.