Rory McIlroy did not find himself thinking about golf’s comeback magicians or his fellow major champions on Thursday, when his scorecard was a mess after just two holes at the Tour Championship. He was also not thinking about his other major winners.
Instead, he thought about the example of a young golfer named Joohyung Kim, better known as Tom Kim, who was just 20 years old when he won the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, earlier this month.
McIlroy, who had begun his Tour Championship with a triple bogey and a bogey, commented on the eventual winner of the golf tournament by saying, “He began with a quad and ended up going on to win the golf tournament.” “It is within your reach.”
Therefore, it was McIlroy who provided the evidence. McIlroy orchestrated the largest final-round comeback in the history of the Tour Championship and defeated Scottie Scheffler by a stroke on Sunday to win the tournament. This victory came three days after he produced an instant debacle at East Lake Golf Club and six weeks after he failed to perform well at the British Open. McIlroy’s victory did not put an end to his winless streak in major events, which had lasted for eight years, but it did earn him $18 million, give him a record-tying third FedEx Cup, and enable the PGA Tour to cap a challenging season by recognizing a cherished veteran as its winner.
The last two holes of McIlroy’s third round, which were played on Sunday morning since Saturday’s weather in Atlanta prevented play, hinted that he was in fighting shape. This was despite the fact that McIlroy was behind Scheffler by six strokes at the beginning of the fourth round. He was successful in both.
McIlroy got off to a bad start in the final round by making a bogey, but he evened his score with a birdie on the third hole. Beginning with the fifth hole, he strung together three birdies in a row, which would eventually support a score of 32 for the front nine holes. In the first half of the fourth round, Scheffler recorded three bogeys, which contributed to his overall score of 73, which was three strokes over par. Scheffler was paired with McIlroy in the last round.
McIlroy did not take full possession of the scoreboard until the last putts at No. 16, despite the fact that he seemed to have a good footing for most of the day on Sunday, whilst Scheffler struggled with his balance at times.
At a distance of thirty-one feet from the hole, Rory McIlroy gave the ball a little touch before stopping dead in his tracks, his putter barely elevated as the ball broke to the left. After that, it swung toward the hole, and McIlroy had to take a few steps back — and maybe he was willing it, praying for it, or whatever — before the ball rolled into the cup. McIlroy celebrated his victory by pumping his right fist in the air as the crowd roared its support.
On the next hole, Scheffler made a bogey, and as a result, he was no longer in exclusive possession of the lead.
Both Scheffler and Sungjae Im ended in second place, which they shared together. Xander Schauffele finished two shots behind them, while Max Homa and Justin Thomas tied for fifth place, four strokes behind Rory McIlroy.
The PGA Tour was able to acquire McIlroy, who is 33 years old, as a FedEx Cup winner. McIlroy has been one of the PGA Tour’s staunchest supporters throughout the turmoil that has occurred this year regarding LIV Golf.
McIlroy was matched Thursday and Friday with Cameron Smith, the champion of the British Open. Smith has not officially rejected a rumour in the British news media that he wants to flee as soon as this week. The dramatics surrounding LIV were not at all missing from Atlanta. However, McIlroy’s victory was a boost for the established order, which has been under attack as of late.
On Thursday, as it was raining in Atlanta, he certainly had every right to believe differently. He might have been pardoned for this. On the other hand, he said that his thoughts had “naturally” drifted to Kim’s resurrection in Greensboro on Sunday.