McIlroy pockets $15 million in Tour Championship win
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland on the first green during the final round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 25 August 2019. The tournament is the finale of the FedExCup playoffs. EFE/EPA/ERIK S. LESSER
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts on the fifth green during the final round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 25 August 2019. The tournament is the finale of the FedExCup playoffs. EFE/EPA/ERIK S. LESSER
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after winning the Tour Championship's FedExCup playoff at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 25 August 2019. McIlroy finished the tournament at 18 under par. EFE/EPA/ERIK S. LESSER
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland kisses the trophy after winning the Tour Championship golf tournament's FedExCup playoff at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, 25 August 2019. McIlroy finished the tournament at 18 under par. EFE/EPA/ERIK S. LESSER
Atlanta, Aug 25 (efe-epa).- Rory McIlroy pulled out the combination he needed on Sunday at Atlanta's East Lake Golf Club to win the Tour Championship's FedEx Cup and a purse of $15 million, the biggest payout in the history of golf.
In the tourney reserved for the 30 best players on the circuit, and the scene last year of Tiger Woods' remarkable comeback victory, the native of Northern Ireland finished with a score of 66, four under par for the day and 18 under par for the tourney, four strokes ahead of runner-up Xander Schauffele of the United States, who took home $5 million in winnings.
Justin Thomas - at 68 for the day - tied with Brooks Koepka (shooting 72 on Sunday) for third and each of them earned $3.5 million, while Paul Casey shot 72 to finish fifth and earned $2.5 million.
On his last outing of the tournament, McIlroy scored six birdies and two bogeys, gaining significant distance over his rivals, who just couldn't match his level of play. He was the only competitor to shoot below par on each of the tourney's four days.
With the victory, McIlroy joined Woods as the only two-time winners of the FedEx Cup since its inception in 2007.
The crowd was with him all day, it seemed, and as he approached the 18th hole, just minutes away from the win, chants of "Rory! Rory! Rory!" sounded from the masses of spectators on hand.
Last year, McIlroy was not much of a factor at the Tour Championship, and Woods - showing virtually perfect play - came away with the trophy.
This year, however, McIlroy said: "I must say, I didn't enjoy that walk last year like everyone else did. I never took the fight to Tiger."
For this edition of the tourney, the scoring format was changed to provide the top contenders with a boost on the tally sheet, depending on their ranking in the FedEx Cup, and thus Thomas, as the No. 1 seed, began this year's competition at 10-under par, while McIlroy, the No. 5 seed, was 5-under.
But McIlroy didn't seem to need the help in an event in which virtually everything went his way, finishing at 18-under - his "true" score being 13-under at 267 - with the win propelling him into the world No. 2 spot, just behind Koepka, who beat him at the World Golf Championships in Tennessee in July.
Meanwhile, Spain's Jon Rahm came in 12th, shooting 72 for the day, two over par, and four under par in the final count. On the first nine holes on Sunday, Rahm must have felt like he was experiencing a nightmare with four bogeys, three of them consecutive.
During the second half of the day, he managed to improve significantly with four birdies, but on two other holes he came in over par, thus sliding inexorably out of the top positions on the leader board.