JUSTIN ROSE WAS trying not to lose the BMW Championship until he decided to play like he wanted to win.
Rose already was feeling the pressure from watching a five-shot lead over John Senden shrink to one. He hit another mediocre shot that came up short of the 17th green, and while he faced a relatively simple chip, Rose thought about using his putter because it would eliminate any chance of a mistake.
“I knew it was kind of coming down to me,” Rose said. “Either I was going to fritter it away or make something happen to win the tournament. That’s how it felt. I nearly took the ‘chicken stick’ out there and putted it on 17, and I had a little chat with myself. … I said, ‘These are the moments where tournaments are won.’
“It was an easy chip, it just needed committing to, just not wimping out.”
It turned out to be the right move.
Rose chipped in for birdie to restore his lead, then played the 18th without fear to close out an even-par 71 and a two-shot victory that sends him to the Tour Championship with a shot at the $10 million FedEx Cup prize.
“It was just nice to have made the right decision and then execute it,” Rose said. “That’s a great lesson to learn that down the stretch. It does come down to one moment sometimes, and you just need to be ready for it.”
Rose’s third career PGA Tour win came at just the right time. He was at No. 34 in the FedEx Cup when he arrived at the third playoff event — only the top 30 from the 70-man field at Cog Hill would advance — and he moved to No. 3 with the victory.
The top five — Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson, Rose, Luke Donald and Matt Kuchar — at East Lake next week only have to win the Tour Championship to collect the biggest payoff in golf.
There were plenty of consolation prizes to go around.
Senden played bogey-free, an amazing feat in the rain on a tough course, and closed with a 70. He moved from No. 55 to No. 9 in the FedEx Cup, and his spot in the Tour Championship effectively assures him a spot in all four majors next year.
Indeed, there was more than one cup at stake on Sunday.
Rose captured the most important trophy. He finished at 13-under 271 for the biggest win of his career, worth $1.44 million. The BMW Championship also was the final event for the top 10 players to qualify for the Presidents Cup.
Despite all the possibilities for the U.S. team, there was no change except in the order.
David Toms went from No. 10 to No. 8 with his tie for 10th. The heartache belonged to Bill Haas, who was tied for third at the BMW going into the final round. He was poised to claim one of the 10 spots until he posted a 42 on the back nine and shot 78, when a score of 75 would have been just enough.
It’s the second straight year that Haas walked away from Cog Hill feeling empty. A year ago, he finished 31st in the FedEx Cup by a mere seven points.
Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk nailed down the last two spots for the United States. The other seven who had locked up spots were Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Nick Watney, Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson.
Nothing but the order changed for the International team, too. Its list is based on the world ranking. Ogilvy, who was narrowly No. 10, moved ahead of Ryo Ishikawa to No. 9. The other eight players are Jason Day, Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, K.J. Choi, K.T. Kim, Retief Goosen, Ernie Els and Y.E. Yang.
Captains Fred Couples and Greg Norman will make two picks after the Tour Championship. Couples already has said Tiger Woods will be one of his picks.