Rory McIlroy produced a stunning finish and came through a thrilling playoff to win the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup at East Lake. Ryan Moore was beaten but named as the final U.S. Ryder Cup team member.
Rory McIlroy was on the brink of falling out of contention at the Tour Championship at East Lake, standing in the 16th fairway three shots off the lead. But he produced a moment of magic, holing out with pitching wedge from 137 yards for an eagle two to keep his hopes very much alive.
McIlroy closed with a birdie on the 18th to post a four-round total of 12-under-par and that was matched by his playing partner Ryan Moore. Kevin Chappell had been at 13-under until a bogey at the 17th, but he had a chance to win the tournament outright with a birdie on the par-5 last. He couldn’t do it however, and that meant a three-way playoff for the title.
Dustin Johnson had been in charge of the destiny of the FedEx Cup until the final round. He led the standings going into the Tour Championship after his victory in the BMW, and he took the lead into day four at East Lake. With victory he would have secured the $10 million bonus prize and most felt he was favourite to do so. But he struggled through the final round after a mis-hit shot on the 5th. He wound up finishing in a tie for sixth place, and that opened the door for McIlroy.
Of the playoff protagonists at East Lake, only Rory could take the FedEx Cup; he needed to win to do so. If either Chappell or Moore were victorious, DJ would be FedEx Cup champion.
McIlroy looked to have it sewn up on the first extra hole when he hit a superb second to the par-5 18th, setting up an eight-foot putt for eagle. Chappell couldn’t make birdie and his race was run. Moore, though, holed his tricky birdie effort to keep the pressure on McIlroy. The Northern Irishman thought he had made his eagle putt but it defied gravity and the playoff went on.
It took three more holes for the Tour Championship to be decided and McIlroy eventually sealed it with a superb birdie at the 16th.
3 Talking points from the Tour Championship
1 – By winning the event and the FedEx Cup, Rory McIlroy earned $11.53 million: $1.53 million for the Tour Championship and $10 million for the FedEx Cup.
“I’ve made it no secret that it’s one of the last things I feel like I had left on my golf CV, and I made it a big goal of mine to win it,” McIlroy said. “To be here and to win the FedExCup … to play the way I have in the last few weeks to get it done, is very special.”
2 – Ryan Moore produced a superb final round and playoff display but came up just shy of an inspired McIlroy. The American putted incredibly and did enough to convince U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III that he should be the final wildcard pick for the Ryder Cup.
“Ryan fits so well with what we have in place,” Love said. “He’s an easy-going, thoughtful guy, but don’t be fooled, Ryan’s a great match-play player with an incredible match-play record. He has guts and determination, and everyone saw that today. We are thrilled to have him with us.”
Moore’s selection means World Number 7 Bubba Watson will not be in the U.S. side for Hazeltine.
3 – Dustin Johnson was accepting of defeat on Sunday at East Lake.
“I knew I controlled my own destiny and it just didn’t happen today,” Johnson said. “Everything was just a little bit off… It wouldn’t have felt right if Ryan would have won and I still won the FedExCup. I would have liked it but it wouldn’t have felt as good as if I’d won the championship.”
East Lake GC, Atlanta, Georgia
Purse $8,500,000, par 70
1 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 68 70 66 64 268 $1,530,000
T2 Ryan Moore (USA) 70 68 66 64 268 $752,250
T2 Kevin Chappell (USA) 66 68 68 66 268 $752,250
4 Paul Casey (Eng) 68 70 69 64 271 $408,000
5 Hideki Matsuyama (Jap) 66 71 68 69 274 $340,000
T6 Dustin Johnson (USA) 66 67 69 73 275 $297,500
T6 Justin Thomas (USA) 68 71 69 67 275 $297,500
T8 Jason Dufner (USA) 73 67 66 70 276 $263,500
T8 Adam Scott (Aus) 69 71 71 65 276 $263,500
T10 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 73 70 66 69 278 $218,620
T10 Si Woo Kim (Kor) 67 72 74 65 278 $218,620
T10 Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 74 67 66 71 278 $218,620
T10 Bubba Watson (USA) 72 73 66 67 278 $218,620
T10 Gary Woodland (USA) 72 70 69 67 278 $218,620
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage