Rory McIlroy He starred in all four majors this year. In two she had the concrete chance to win, but they escaped her and could not cut the streak of eight years without major titles. At the end of the season, he had a major consolation in winning the bag of 18 million dollars that distributes the Tour Championship, a contest that crowns the winner of the 2021/22 season of the PGA Tour.
The Northern Irishman became the top winner of the FedEx Cup by consecrating himself for the third time, after a brilliant performance in the last lap, in which he overcame an initial handicap of six strokes against Scottie Scheffler, who arrived as number 1 in the world and maximum favorite, and with a sensational return of 66 (-4) to reach -21, he prevailed by one over his pursuer and the Korean Sungjae Im, who signed an identical card .
Scheffler had started the traditional final event at East Lake with a -10 handicap, after being the best of the season so far, thanks in part to the consecration in the Masters, when he frustrated McIlroy, who finished second. The Northern Irishman had also finished in the top 10 at the US Open (8th) and the PGA Championship (5th), and suffered the biggest disappointment by finishing 3rd at the 150th Open Championship in St. Andrews, after starting the last lap in the lead . His four-major tally stood still after the 2014 PGA Championship in Valhalla.
The conquest of this third Tour Championship is far from being a minor consolation. Not only because of the astronomical check he pocketed, but also the $8,654,000 he earned in prize money and the $1.7 million bonus for finishing sixth in the playoffs. Also for the intangible value that comes from McIlroy’s attempt to decisively take over from Tiger Woods. In fact, with the successes of 2016 and 2019, he surpassed Tiger as the champion of the season.
“I was close all year. I had a couple of wins, but I was hoping for something more. Maybe this is it,” Rory agreed.
Also, takes on special preponderance at a crucial moment for the PGA Tour, which sees how several of its main players leave for the LIV Golf Tour of sumptuous Arab capitals. McIlroy, who chairs the Players Council (PAC), is a strong supporter of the North American circuit. And now that the season is over, more game announcements are expected, adding names like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau or Bruce Koepka.
“McIlroy won 28.3 million dollars this season. 18 in the Tour Championship, 8.6 in the other tournaments and 1.7 in bonuses”
“This title means a lot,” agreed Rory. “I believe in golf, in the PGA Tour, in our players. It is the best place in the world to play golf, and I played everywhere. I’m very proud, but so should the PGA Tour. We had tough times this year, but we will get through them. To have the best in the world defining a tournament as big as this was a great show. I hope you all enjoyed it. I am proud to belong to and represent this Tour. It has the best players, the biggest prizes. And the money is not so bad… If you work hard, this is what happens.”
In an electrifying final lap, McIlroy capitalized on the debacle for Scheffler, the season’s top winner with four titles. The Masters champion started six shots ahead, but three bogeys in the first six holes were combined with three straight birdies by Rory from 5 to 7, and everything was quickly equalized. Then Scheffler regained control and Rory lost some momentum, and after 14 holes the American was leading by one. In the last four holes, McIlroy showed the greatness of him. He hit a putt from 9.5 meters for birdie in the 15th that aroused the biggest ovation of the afternoon (despite being a “visitor”), saved a giant pair in the 16th after two bad shots and resumed the lead alone against the bogey from his rival, and recovered on the 18th after a second shot hit the stands behind the green and secured first place with par.
“The best thing was the resilience I showed. Mentally I stayed strong. I started the week 6 shots behind, on Friday I was 10 shots off the lead,” she summed up. “Today I thought that if I could get within three shots after the first nine holes I would have left. But everything happened very fast. When I made the three birdies in a row, I thought I had a good chance. It was an amazing day. A combination of having played well and Scottie not so much. I had to take advantage of that and I was able to do it. Beating the best player in the world today has to mean something.”
For McIlroy, it means much more than $18 million.