| 13.9°C Dublin

Fatherhood gives McIlroy 'different perspective'

Close

Rory McIlroy. Photo: AP

Rory McIlroy. Photo: AP

AP

Rory McIlroy. Photo: AP

Rory McIlroy believes fatherhood will give Tour life "a different perspective" as he chases a record third FedEx Cup win and a cool $15m jackpot at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Under the staggered scoring system, he begins his title defence in 12th place on three-under, seven shots behind Dustin Johnson and eight behind Jon Rahm.

The Holywood ace - who tees off alongside Brendon Todd at 6.30pm Irish time - came from five shots behind Justin Thomas to win last year and while many of his fans will hope for the famed "Nappy Factor" to kick in, an "emotionally drained" McIlroy is looking at the bigger picture.

"The trials and tribulations of what goes on out on the golf course don't really seem to matter that much," McIlroy (31) said at East Lake.

"So you can sort of let it just slide off you a little bit more and not be as reactive to your mistakes and know that it's important and it's your career, but at the end of the day you get to go home to your family, which is the most important thing."

The four-time Major champion has focused on becoming a more rounded individual since he married in 2017, dipping deep into books on self-improvement and philosophy.

"It's probably the best part of being a human being, and I'm glad that I got to experience it," he said of the arrival of Poppy Kennedy McIlroy on Monday. "If I can't be content and happy right now, I don't think I'll ever be."

World No 1 Johnson (36) is ultra-confident after shooting 53-under par for his last four starts but he also knows that he has his work cut out to capture his first FedEx Cup.

"It's not like I've got a two-shot lead going into the final round," the world No 1 said. "I'm going to have to play some really good golf for four days if I want to be a FedEx Cup champion."

At the European Tour's AndalucĂ­a Masters, Jonathan Caldwell was tied 21st after opening with a two-over 73 as Cormac Sharvin shot 75 and Gavin Moynihan made a quintuple-bogey nine at the fifth in a 79 at a demanding Valderrama.

Scotland's Connor Syme, Spain's Jorge Campillo, Italy's Guido Migliozzi and American John Catlin fired two-under 69s to lead by a shot.

At the Challenge Tour's Northern Ireland Open at Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort, Naas' Conor O'Rourke (29) heads the 16-strong Irish challenge after carding a one-under 69 to share 17th place, just three shots behind Frenchman Julien Quesne.

Meanwhile, Simon Thornton holed a 30-foot birdie putt at the first extra hole at Roganstown to win the weather-reduced Irish PGA Championship for the third time in 10 years.

The former European Tour winner (43) carded a one-under 70 to tie with Colm Moriarty, who shot 72, on two-under 142, before making birdie from just off the green at the par-four first in sudden-death.

  • Andalucia Masters, Live, Sky Sports, 11.0am
  • Tour Championship, Live, Sky Sports, 5.0pm

Irish Independent