Atlanta – Rory McIlroythe most powerful voice of the PGA Tour in a turbulent year, had the last word with his clubs on Sunday when he rallied 6-shots back to win the Tour Championship and take home the FedEx Cup for the third time.
McIlroy won $18 million, pushing his PGA Tour earnings to over $26 million for the season. He finished with a 4-under 66 to beat the Masters Champion Scotty Schefflerwho made only one bird in 73.
Schaeffler had hoped to end the best year in golf with a FedEx Cup title. Instead, his record entry tied the PGA Tour record to losing the biggest lead at 54 holes. The last one to do that was Dustin Johnson in 2017 at HSBC Champions.
Songjae Im He fell again with a double bogey on the 14th hole and managed a 66 tie for second place with Schaeffler.
McIlroy referred to the final round as a “fantastic spectacle,” and not just because of the pro-McIlroy crowd chanting his name along the closed holes.
“Two of the best players in the world are competing head-to-head for the best round,” he said.
McIlroy needed a lot of help from top seed Schaeffler, who started with his shot twice and never got behind until the 70th hole. Scheffler, who cut four out of six holes Sunday morning to finish the third round and build a 6-shot lead, lost it on the first seven holes.
And then, that was nail-biting until the end, an amazing afternoon in East Lake that turned into two shots.
McIlroy drilled a 30-foot birdie strike on hole No. 3 15 to tie up the lead. After he flew the green by about 20 yards, his tone of voice ran fast and flew from the front of the green when it hit the pin and settled 7 feet away.
Keeping equality. Scheffler sprinted from bunker to 10 feet and a foul, a bogey that made him behind for the first time all week. Scheffler misread the chance of a 10-foot jumper on the 17th day of a tie, sending the Tour Championship to the final holeshot with $18 million on the line.
Scheffler’s 4-iron on the par-5 18 sailed short, right and into the bunker, and cruised over the green. McIlroy went left against the runway, relieved and grabbed the green for an easy equalizer.
Scheffler and Im each won $4.75 million.
Scheffler said, “Money definitely didn’t cross my mind. I wanted to win the title all season long. I had a really great year and I wanted to finish it with a win here, unfortunately I couldn’t.”
McIlroy won in 2016 in a playoff match. He won the FedEx Cup again in 2019, the first year for an amazing start. But perhaps the prettiest of all, it came in a year when the PGA Tour was in a bad fight for players with Saudi-funded LIV Golf.
It has been McIlroy who has been very loyal to the PGA Tour over the past few years, joining tiger wood In leading an important meeting of players only last week led to important changes ahead.
“I believe in golf,” McIlroy said at the trophy presentation. “I believe in this round in particular. I believe in the players on this round.” “It’s the greatest place in the world to play golf, without exception, and I’ve played everywhere.”
Even in the Tour Championship, which is usually an end-of-year celebration, there was talk all weekend of more splits coming in the next few days. The Daily Telegraph reported three weeks ago that British Open champion Cameron Smith was leaving for Leaf Golf, and sources confirmed his expected move to ESPN.
Still to be determined Joaquin Niemannwhose manager said the Chilean would discuss options with his father later on Sunday.
“Everyone on the tour had to deal with a lot,” McIlroy said. “Even the guys who went to LIV had to deal with a lot. It was a very turbulent era in our game.” The best place in the world to play golf. It is the most competitive. He has the best players. It has the deepest fields. I don’t know why you would want to play anywhere else. ”
With all this speculation, the seemingly on the run Tour Championship turned out to be a dynamic show. Most of that fell to Scheffler, who looked like two different players when he returned Sunday morning and after a two-hour break before the final round.
He couldn’t get any and let four more into the game. Schaeffler hit only nine out of 18 greens in regulation.
McIlroy seized the opportunity early with three straight birds, most recently from 30 feet at No. 7 that led to cheers from corporate hospitality tents across the track.
Scheffler fought back, showing incredible strength without keeping up with the game. He had three big saves early from the back position and took the lead for the last time when McIlroy missed 14th with a short iron from the lane and made a bogey.
McIlroy started the tournament with six shots behind him as the number.. 7 seed. He opened with a tee that came out of bounds for a triple bogey and after another bogey, he was ten times behind before Schaeffler started. And in the end, the biggest voter of the tour earned her titles.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.