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Devil Ball Golf

Five things we learned from the Tour Championship

Jonathan Wall
Devil Ball Golf

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Brandt Snedeker / Getty Images

Let's be honest, we're all incredibly busy. Nobody has time to sit down and watch four rounds of golf coverage -- unless, of course, you watch TV for a living, and if that's the case, please email us your number. So in an effort to condense the tournament coverage for you into a few quick hits, here are five things we learned from the Tour Championship.

Brandt Snedeker's putter the difference at East Lake — It doesn't matter how hot driver faces get from here on out, leading the field in putting for the week will always give you the best chance to take home the big check on Sunday afternoon. Case in point: Brandt Snedker, who was the hottest putter in the game coming into the Tour Championship. He once again proved that having the best flatstick at East Lake is the way to go if you have aspirations of winning the final event of the FedExCup. Snedeker led the field in strokes gained putting (1.676) for the week and finished inside the top-3 in putts per GIR (1.660) and putts per round 27.5; he also ended the regular season as the undisputed leader in strokes gained putting for 2012. Extra distance off the tee is nice, but when you're playing a course where three of the last four winners have led the field in putting for the week, you quickly distance doesn't matter. Snedeker can attest to that statement. He rode the hottest putter in golf to a career-defining victory ... and an $11.4 million payday. Say it with me, friends: drive for show, putt for dough.

[Related: FedEx Cup proves Tiger's closing act no longer an open-and-shut case]

Rory McIlroy comes up short in his FedExCup quest — One can look at Rory McIlroy's incredible FedExCup run in a number of different ways. On one hand, the four playoff events could be considered a complete success after McIlroy won two of the four events. On the other hand, he missed out on $10 million thanks to the FedExCup reset, and some clutch putting from Brandt Snedeker. McIlroy was complimentary of Snedeker's play on Sunday, crediting him for his win that sent him from fifth to first in the standings, but you can't help but feel a little bad for the 23-year-old, who played near-flawless golf for three tournament and still came up short in the finale. Blame it on the reset.

Tiger Woods leaves Tour Championship with some positives — Firing rounds of 66-73-67-72 and finishing T-8 -- eight shots back of Brandt Snedeker -- isn't anything to write home about, but following Sunday's final round of the Tour Championship, Tiger Woods said he felt good about one part of his game in particular going into the Ryder Cup.

"More than anything, I think this week my short game was really dialed in this week," Woods said. "I chipped and putted really well."

Considering Woods' short game has been his Achilles' heel for much of the year, it's difficult to believe him ... until you take a peek at his stats for the week. He finished fourth in the field in putts per GIR and putts per round, two numbers that would lead you to believe the putter is making a comeback ahead of the Ryder Cup.

That's the good news. The bad news is Woods once again struggled with his swing and commented on Sunday that he "fought very hard just to shoot what I shot on the last couple of days."

Woods shot 67 on Saturday, a score that got him within shouting distance of Brandt Snedeker. But he followed it up with a 72 on Sunday that included four bogeys and a double. The short game may be coming around, but Woods' game still resembles a roller coaster ride.

[More: Colin Montgomerie fears raucous American crowd could mar Ryder Cup's return to U.S. ]

Ryder Cup roundup — U.S. and European Ryder Cuppers produced at East Lake. Justin Rose and Luke Donald finished second and third for the week, while U.S. team members Brandt Snedeker, Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson all finished inside the top-10. Playing well the week prior doesn't always equate to strong play in the biennial matches -- they're a completely different beast, after all -- but it's always nice to see some of the big names with their games in order.

Tour Championship notes — Phil Mickelson closed out the playoffs with three top-20 finishes after going seven straight PGA Tour events without a finish higher than T-36. ... Justin Rose's second-place finish was his third top-five in his last six starts. ... Lee Westwood earned $628,000 for finishing in last-place at the Tour Championship. Last. Place. ... Nick Watney, who was in third at the start of the Tour Championship, finished in 28th and failed to post a round under par at East Lake.

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