Heading into the FedEx Cup Playoffs it looked like being a battle between Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy for the $15m prize – and so it proved, with those two in the final group at the Tour Championship on Sunday.
McIlroy scooped golf’s biggest winners’ cheque with a sublime round of 66 to cap a magnificent performance all week at East Lake. His driving was beyond belief and this time he putted well too. It was a proper display.
At one point things looked a little sticky, when he made consecutive bogeys at 14 and 15, but he made a very good par at the next hole to stay two ahead of Xander Schauffele, by then his nearest challenger.
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So the American season draws to a close with a big win for European golf, a second FedEx Cup triumph for McIlroy and yet another feather in the four-time Major winner’s cap.
What I think he will take particular satisafction from, though, is how well he performed against the world No1. Rory totally outplayed Koepka and reminded him what he is all about.
Of course, it is not a Major and McIlroy won’t need reminding that he’s now gone five years without adding to his tally, but so far this year he has done everything but.
He has won three times, including The Players Championship and the Tour Championship, and finished in the top 10 of 12 out of 14 non-Major events on the PGA Tour.
Missing the cut at The Open at Royal Portrush was a setback but he brushed it off; he is too good to worry about things like that.
Yes, he would have loved to have been Shane Lowry lifting the Claret Jug but for once Rory wasn’t the main attraction in Northern Ireland.
At 30, McIlroy is young enough to reach double figures for Major titles. It is a case of breaking the ice again.
Over the last few days he has shown everyone what he can do against the very best in the world and that is what he will take from this victory. I’m sure he will be thinking about next year’s Masters already.
Schauffele played well to take outright second in Atlanta, while England’s Paul Casey had a good week, finishing fifth.
It was the Rory McIlroy show, however. The much-discussed new format for the tournament was very easy to slip into and even the weather delays which meant players couldn’t finish their third rounds on Saturday posed no problem for him.
Sometimes it can be tedious waiting to tee off in the afternoon, so playing a few holes in the morning can actually be quite nice.
Swede smell of success for Van Rooyen
He is one of several talented South African players who have been threatening to burst through for a while, so it was huge for Erik van Rooyen to get his first European Tour title on Sunday.
Van Rooyen, 29, did it in style with a birdie at the last to win the Scandinavian Invitation by one shot from Matt Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick pushed him all the way and couldn’t have done much more. The Englishman is desperate to extend his record of winning every season into a fifth year and there is plenty of time for him to still do that.
Main image credit: Getty