Rory McIlroy played a strong final round Sunday afternoon to win the TOUR Championship while also sealing the ultimate prize, the FedEx Cup trophy. After last year’s TOUR Championship, expectations were elevated and many wondered if that same excitement could be replicated this year.
Tiger Woods is always the biggest draw as he’s the face of the sport and what he did last year was special. Paired with Woods during that classic final drive, McIlroy detailed the manner in which he’d get his revenge. “I must say I didn’t enjoy that walk last year like everyone else did. I played terribly, got myself into the final group and never took the fight to Tiger. Going up against the number one player in the world today, he got one over on me in Memphis and I sort of wanted to get some revenge today. To play like that alongside Brooks and get the win and to win the FedExCup, it’s awesome. It is amazing how different things can be in a year.”
TOUR Championship Final Round Leaderboard
1st Rory McIlroy -18
2nd Xander Schauffele -14
T3 Justin Thomas -13
T3 Brooks Koepka -13
After a 2-under 33 on the front nine, the two-time TOUR Championship winner put his Northern Ireland stamp on things with two birdies (12 and 13) on the back to get to 18 under. An all-important par at 16 and birdies on 17 and 18 made for a sweet finish at -18 and four strokes clear of second place. (Click here for full leaderboard)
Brooks Koepka was the tournament favorite and kept a commanding lead until the final round. McIlroy was on a mission and stayed focus on his goal: winning the whole thing. “It looked like it was a three-horse race between Brooks, Zander and I and then in the middle of the back nine, Xander and I separated ourselves,” he says. “I think I’ve given myself so many chances. To win three times is awesome. I feel like I could have won more. To win the FedExCup again, to persist the whole way through throughout the year, to keep giving myself chances even when I was being knocked back and not be denied. I’m very proud of myself and I’m going to enjoy this one tonight.”
Miscellaneous Players Final Round Leaderboard
5th Paul Casey -9
7th Tony Finau -7
T9 Hideki Matsuyama -5
T16 Matt Kuchar -1
T19 Rickie Fowler E
T26 Justin Rose +3
T29 Dustin Johnson +10
With the victory at East Lake, McIlroy won the largest check in golf history at $15 million. This latest win helped push his earnings total past $23 million on the year. He also joins Tiger Woods as the only two players to have won the TOUR Championship twice.
After an action-packed season finale that included another tightly contested battle between Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka, early afternoon tee times, a lightning strike, and the third and fourth rounds concluding on Sunday, you can never predict how the season will end. Even without the name recognition and power of Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, the TOUR Championship still ended with a level of excitement and drama golf fans could appreciate.
-Jon J. and KJ
Photo: Hakim Wright