Rory McIlroy 'softens St Andrews blow a little bit' by landing historic third FedEx Cup win

Rory McIlroy is returning to St Andrews next month feeling he’s “softened the blow a little bit” from the 150th Open after creating history as the first player to win the FedEx Cup three times.

Rory McIlroy celebrates winning the FedEx Cup in his post round press conference after the final round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Picture: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.
Rory McIlroy celebrates winning the FedEx Cup in his post round press conference after the final round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Picture: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.

The Northern Irishman started the season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta six shots behind world No 1 Scottie Scheffler under the handicap scoring system before opening with a triple bogey.

But, after clawing his way back in contention, he signed off with a 66 to finish on 21-under-par, a shot ahead of both Scheffler (73) and South Korea’s Sungjae Im (66). Genesis Scottish Open champion Xander Schauffele (69) was fourth on 18-under.

McIlroy, who first landed the coveted FedEx Cup in 2016 before repeating the feat in 2019, picked up $18 million for his latest success, meaning he has now earned $50 million in FedExCup bonus money in his career.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy celebrates with the FedEx Cup after winning during the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club

“To be the first to do anything in the game that you love so much, it's an incredibly proud moment,” he admitted of his feat, with Tiger Woods, the winner in 2007 and 2009, being the only other player to have won it more than once.

It was McIlroy’s first victory since having to settle for third place in the 150th Open at St Andrews, where he led heading into the final round only to see his putter turn cold as Australian Cameron Smith got his hands on the Claret Jug instead.

“I've been knocking on the door so much this year,” admitted McIlroy, who also won the Canadian Open in June. “St Andrews was really hard for me. Still, it was a tough one to get over. “This softens the blow a little bit. It doesn't make it that much easier to get over, but it's great to end the season on a high note like this.”

McIlroy is heading back to St Andrews to play in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with his dad Gerry, the pair having come close to winning the team event on their last appearance in the event in 2019.

He’s also just been confirmed for an Italian Open debut in the event's 75th edition at Marco Simone on the outskirts of Rome, where the 2023 Ryder Cup will be played.

But, before both of those DP World Tour appearances, the four-time major winner is teeing up in next week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, where 18 LIV Golf players are also set to be in the field.

“If you believe in something I think you have to speak up, and I believe very strongly about this. I really do,’’ said McIlroy, who has been one of the loudest voices in support of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour .

Referring to Greg Norman’s breakaway LIV Golf circuit, he added: “I hate what it's doing to the game of golf. I hate it. I really do. Like it's going to be hard for me to stomach going to Wentworth in a couple of weeks' time and seeing 18 of them there. That just doesn't sit right with me.

“So yeah, I feel strongly. I believe what I'm saying are the right things, and I think when you believe that what you're saying is the right things, you're happy to stick your neck out on the line.’’

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