FedExCup: Rory McIlroy avenges defeats to Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 26/08/19 11:36am
Rory McIlroy enjoyed atonement for his Tour Championship disappointment last year after landing a $15m payday with an impressive four-shot victory at East Lake.
McIlroy played in the final pairing with Tiger Woods in the FedExCup finale last season but crashed to a four-over 74 as Woods clinched his first win in five years amid incredible scenes around the 18th green in Atlanta.
But it was a different story this week as McIlroy was the centre of attention, outplaying Brooks Koepka to card a 66 which earned him the FedExCup title for the second time as well as the richest winner's cheque in golf history.
With a unique handicap system in place at the start of the week, McIlroy was delighted to achieve his goal of shooting the lowest 72-hole score for the tournament while also gaining revenge for his defeat to Koepka at the WGC-FedEx St Jude Classic last month.
McIlroy claims FedExCup crown
Report and highlights from a dramatic final day of the PGA Tour season at East Lake
"I didn't enjoy that walk last year like everyone else did," said McIlroy as he reflected on Woods' win last season. "I played terribly. I got myself into the final group and never took the fight to Tiger.
"So going up against the No 1 player in the world today, he got one over on me in Memphis, and I wanted to try to get some revenge. To play like that alongside Brooks and get the win, win the FedExCup, yeah, it's awesome. You know, it's amazing how different things can be in a year.
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"My goal was to go and win, not the normal tournament, but win by even strokes, right? So if everyone started on even this week, my goal was to just shoot the lowest score of the week. I think with that birdie on the last, I did that. That's why I was still concentrating on it.
"It looked like it was a three-horse race between Xander, Brooks and I, and then in the middle of the back nine, it was just Xander, and I was able to separate myself. But it's tough coming in. I made those two bogeys on 14 and 15, but I made a huge par save on 16 and then was able to birdie the last two.
"You know, such a cool way to end what has been for me a great season. I'll look back on this season, and there's been a lot of good things that I've done, and try to improve for next year again."
McIlroy, who won the Players Championship in March before claiming his second win of the season in Canada, admitted that his eight-foot putt for par at the 16th was "pivotal" as he avoided seeing his three-shot lead whittled down to one with three straight bogeys.
"That par on 16 was probably the real pivotal moment, just to stop the bleeding a little bit," he said. "Obviously I bogeyed 14 and 15, but then that par save and then the birdie on 17 to really give myself a nice push going into the last.
"I played really well today. You know, the final round in Memphis hurt a little bit, and I didn't take it to Brooks at all. I just told myself to go out there, try my hardest, and today I was able to get the win.
"I've given myself so many chances, and to win three times is awesome. I feel like I could have won more, but to win the FedExCup again, to persist the whole way throughout the year, to keep giving myself chances even when I was getting knocked back and not be denied, I'm very proud of myself, and I'm going to enjoy this one."