Henrik Stenson had dropped outside the top 200 in the world rankings not so long ago and now rises up to inside the top five with two PGA Tour playoff victories and the FedEx Cup crown. Talk about rising from the ashes.
And now that the 2013 season is done, who will earn the hardware as the PGA Tour player of the year?
Our scribes tackle those topics and more in this week's edition of Monday Four-Ball.
1. What lesson did you learn most about Henrik Stenson's run to the FedEx Cup title?
Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: That next year he will be a force to reckon with at majors. Stenson has found that perfect place between business and fun on the golf course that most other players strive to find. I think we (and he) learned there is no hole too deep for him to return from.
Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Stenson was consistent. He has been the best player in the game since the Open Championship and it showed with his two wins in the playoffs.
Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: It doesn't take much to turn an average season into a great season. Who had given Stenson much thought halfway through the year? Now look at him. Two big playoff victories, a run of success in the major championships, and FedEx Cup champion.
Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: Stenson's two playoff wins and FedEx Cup title proved that perseverance prevailed once again. The super Swede hit the bottom of the barrel when he couldn't win his own club championship back home several years ago. Now he's considered by many as the best ball-striker in the game at the moment. Aren't reclamation stories wonderful?
2. Who will be the PGA Tour player of the year now that the 2013 season has concluded?
Michael Collins: Tiger Woods is the player of the year. Five wins, all against solid fields is not at all diminished by the fact he won at places he has had success at in the past. No other player can match what Tiger has accomplished this year even without a major victory.
Farrell Evans: I would like to see Phil Mickelson get the nod with his masterful win at the Open Championship, but I know that it will likely go to Tiger Woods because of his five wins.
Bob Harig: Tiger Woods. Take the name away, and there is no question it is Woods, whose own success tends to hurt him sometimes. He has five wins, and nobody else in consideration has more than two on the PGA Tour. Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott won majors, which is why they will get consideration, but Woods won the Players and two World Golf Championship events -- and finished ahead of both Mickelson and Scott in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Kevin Maguire: Tiger Woods, but I don't necessarily agree with it. Phil Mickelson deserves it due to his Open Championship triumph and two other worldwide wins in 2013. Ask Tiger or Lefty whose season each would rather have and both would say Mickelson's. Isn't that enough to determine the player of the year? Mickelson might get some votes with players knowing he has never won the award in his illustrious career, while other pros will vote by looking at Tiger's five PGA Tour wins and simply side with the numbers.
3. We're seven years into the FedEx Cup. What letter grade would you give the playoffs?
Michael Collins: B. There are still scenarios in which a guy can win the $10 million without winning a tournament. They've dodged seven bullets so far, but if they don't fix that loophole there will be an uproar when it happens. That being said, there is now the drama and volatility the tour was hoping for at the Tour Championship.
Farrell Evans: It's an A because the cash brings out the best players in the game. A chance to see them after the majors is great for the sport.
Bob Harig: B. In the big picture, the playoffs have been great for golf. Four very good tournaments with excellent fields at a time of year when such a scenario would otherwise be impossible. But the points permutations will one day make a mockery of the whole thing at the Tour Championship. There are better ways to decide the overall champion.
Kevin Maguire: I'll go with a B-plus. The simple fact that there is great golf being played in September, post-majors, can be only a good thing. In previous years, once we got past the PGA Championship, the golf season was pretty much over for at least four to five months. Now, the best in the game tee it up for another few weeks. What's not to love about that? Oh, and the grade was marked down because no one can understand the points system.
4. Many players grumbled about so much golf in consecutive weeks late in the season. What should the PGA Tour do about that?
Michael Collins: Nothing. These guys are not required to play in any of these. Guess how every other athlete feels after their playoffs? Tired! Stop complaining. You think the wild-card teams aren't tired if they make it to the championship game? Ever hear them complaining about having to play? Me neither.
Farrell Evans: The tour can't tell the players what events to play and the players shouldn't try to tell the tour how to run its schedule. The tour knows its business.
Bob Harig: Conclude the season two weeks later and give a little space between the PGA Championship and the start of the playoffs. The idea was to not pit golf against football, but that happens anyway -- and will happen again in three weeks when the new season begins. Give the guys a chance to breathe after the majors are completed.
Kevin Maguire: Hopefully they'll do nothing. I don't foresee a situation in which the tour will adjust schedules, so it's time to take more of a break whenever possible, a la Steve Stricker. Next year will be worse when the FedEx Cup playoffs are four straight weeks with no off week (like there was this year.) And just wait until 2016 when the Olympics get into the mix. Talk about a scheduling nightmare.