Keegan Bradley choked back tears and kissed his wife after a play-off victory at the BMW Championship ended six years of torment.
The 32-year-old’s career took a hit when golf’s rule makers outlawed the anchoring of putters to the body in 2016 – when he was already struggling.
The emotion of his winless drought, which stretched back to his 2012 WGC-Bridgestone title, boiled to the surface as he defeated Justin Rose in extra holes at Aronimink Golf Club.
“It’s so hard … this is just incredible,” a tearful Bradley said.
Both overnight leader Rose (67) and Bradley (64) bogeyed the final hole in regulation to finish at 20-under-par after a rain-soaked final round on Monday.
But when Rose three-putted from off the green in sudden-death, Bradley tapped-in for par to win the second-last event of the $US67 million ($A93 million) FedExCup play-offs series.
Rose’s consolation prize is his ascension to world No.1 for the first time in his career – becoming just the fourth Englishman to attain the mantle since the rankings began in 1986.
Americans Billy Horschel (64) and Xander Schauffele (67) finished in a share of third at 19 under.
Bradley was building an impressive resume in 2011 when he won the PGA Championship for his second win of the year using an anchored putter.
He added the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone and made two Ryder Cup appearance for the US before the 2016 ban on anchoring saw his career slide.
“It’s tough to go from being on Ryder Cup teams, being on Presidents Cup teams to (falling) outside the top 100 in the world; that was difficult,” Bradley said.
“Two years ago, I had missed over 10 cuts. I was in jeopardy of not making the (FedExCup) playoffs and I was really struggling.
“I’m speechless (with the BMW win); it took a lot of hard work and lot of people helped me along the way.”
Tiger Woods mounted another vintage charge but dropped shots on his back-nine has been the story of his comeback season from spinal surgery.
The 14-time major winner bagged four birdies on the opening nine and pulled within one shot of the lead on the back side but carded a 65 to share sixth at 17 under.
“I’ve played a few tournaments where I was close at the end,” Woods said, whose missed opportunities to win this year include the British Open and PGA Championship.
“But to say I’ve made it to the Tour Championship after what I’ve been through is a pretty good accomplishment.”.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Jason Day carded an even-par 70 to share 24th place at 11 under, while countryman Marc Leishman’s 68 left him in a tie for 41st at six under.
Adam Scott (68) tied for 51st at four under while Cameron Smith (72) finished at two over.