Friday 28 October 2016

Rory McIlroy secures huge payday with Tour Championship and FedEx Cup glory

Published 26/09/2016 | 00:31

Rory McIlroy clinched the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup title (AP)
Rory McIlroy clinched the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup title (AP)
Rory McIlroy clinched the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup title

Rory McIlroy will head into the Ryder Cup in buoyant mood after coming through a three-way play-off to win the Tour Championship and clinch the overall FedEx Cup title on Sunday, securing a payday of US dollars 11.5million (£8.86million) in Atlanta.

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The Northern Irishman pocketed prize money of USD1.5million (£1.15million) after edging out Americans Kevin Chappell and Ryan Moore at East Lake, in addition to a USD10million (£7.70million) bonus for pipping Dustin Johnson to the FedEx Cup.

Speaking to the press after his triumph, McIlroy said: "It means an awful lot. I've made it no secret that it's one of the last things I feel like I had left on my golfing CV, and I made it a big goal of mine especially after the summer had gone, to win it.

"So to be here and to win the FedExCup, especially where I came in in the mid-30s somewhere, to play the way I have in the last few weeks to get it done is very special."

McIlroy, who now turns his attention to helping Europe's bid to retain the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine over the coming week, continued: "I said to myself on the 15th tee, if I can finish with threes, I'll give myself a chance. I didn't quite think the eagle was going to come as soon as it did (a two at the 16th).

"But when something like that happens, you have to make the most of it. The holed shots from the fairway, it's part skill, but there's an epic part of luck in there as well, and I took advantage of it and made birdie at the last. A lot of things had to go right for me today, and they did. Everything fell into place. Just thankfully, I won the tournament and the FedExCup too."

Chappell, who was the overnight joint leader with Johnson, looked to be on course to take the tournament title but a bogey on the 17th allowed McIlory and Moore back in.

Chappell then dropped out on the first sudden-death hole before McIlroy held his nerve to beat Moore on the fourth after they could not be separated on the second or third.

A win for either American would have seen compatriot Johnson win the FedEx Cup, but it was the world number three celebrating at the end as he took home both titles.

The play-off holes were not without their drama, with McIlroy unfazed by missing a six-foot eagle putt at the first extra hole and then seeing Moore sink an excellent par putt at the 16th.

"I definitely felt like it was such a missed opportunity," he said of his missed putt. "I knew it was going to just get even more difficult from there.

"When you have a six-footer to win the Tour Championship, the FedEx Cup, USD11.5 million, and you feel like you did a good putt and it doesn't quite go in... I just had to regroup, stay focused, and try to give myself chances in the play-off, and thankfully I stayed patient enough to get it done.

"I mentally was expecting to have to hole that putt (on 16) to win. I never expect my opponents to hit bad shots or to miss putts. I expect them to sort of do everything. So it didn't faze me.

"It was nice just to roll one in on top of him and get this thing done."

McIlroy had begun the day two shots behind Chappell and Johnson after keeping himself in contention with a flawless third-round 66 on Saturday. He, along with Moore, carded a fourth-round 64 on Sunday before Chappell's 66 left the trio level on 12 under to force the decider.

Johnson had fallen away earlier in the day with three bogeys and a double bogey which left him joint sixth with Justin Thomas on five under.

Speaking at the trophy presentation, shown on Sky Sports, McIlroy was full of praise for Moore.

"I couldn't control what anyone else did," he said. " I just needed to come out here and play a really good round of golf.

"I somehow was able to tie it up in regulation. I played with Ryan all day, who played phenomenally well. Big credit is due to him. He's playing fantastic golf and has done over the past few months so he should be really proud of himself.

"I just wanted to go out here and play the way I've been playing. I've played really well this week and feel like my game's coming together at the right time. Two wins in the last three feels pretty nice."

Press Association

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