Rory McIlroy made a class gesture to Scottie Scheffler's family after Tour Championship victory 4 weeks ago

Rory McIlroy made a class gesture to Scottie Scheffler's family after Tour Championship victory

"In all honesty, golf has been the escape for me over the last few weeks."

Rory McIlroy has been doing all he can, when he is not out hunting trophies, trying to stave off the LIV Golf threat and save the PGA Tour.

Advertisement

That he had enough, this year, to win three tournaments, including the $18m Tour Championship, and challenge in all four majors tells you all you should need to know about his competitive spirit.

At East Lake Country Club, in Atlanta, Georgia, the 33-year-old captured his third Tour Championship after going 67, 67, 63 and 66 against the top 29 golfers on the PGA Tour, this year.

McIlroy recovered from a triple-bogey on the first hole of his championship tilt to get to within six strokes of world number one Scheffler, heading into the final round. "Going out today," said McIlroy, "I was like, if I can get it within three going into the back nine, I thought that that would be a really good front nine holes."

As it all played out, McIlroy had erased that six-stroke lead after only seven holes. He went back and forth with Scheffler over the closing stretch but a big birdie on 15 (below) and three closing pars were enough to clinch victory.

Advertisement

Rory McIlroy's class gesture to Scottie Scheffler's family

Scottie Scheffler, who won his first major at the US Masters this year, led the Tour Championship for 70 holes, until a bogey on the 16th hole of his final round. Scheffler ended up in a tie for second, with Sungae Im, after a +3 final round of 73.

Advertisement

Following his come from behind victory, Rory McIlroy stated, "I feel like Scottie deserves at least half of this today. He's had an unbelievable season... he's a really great competitor and an even better guy."

McIlroy backed up those comments at the trophy presentation with a really class gesture to Scheffler's mother, father and his wife, Meredith.

"I'm sorry. He deserves it. He's had an unbelievable year."

"No, don't be sorry," Scheffler's father replied. "So did you. Good playing."

Advertisement

'That's something I can take away from today'

Rory McIlroy has now set a Tour Championship record by winning it for the third time, the most any golfer has done so since the format was changed in 2006.

Asked if that landmark win meant more, considering how he has been at the forefront of a months-long battle to stave off the threat of LIV Golf, McIroy replied:

Advertisement

"Look, it's been a tumultuous time for the world of men's professional golf in particular. I've been right in the middle of it. I've picked a great time to go on the PGA TOUR board.

"But yeah, I've been in the thick of things. I guess every chance I get, I'm trying to defend what I feel is the best place to play elite professional golf in the world. It's in some ways fitting that I was able to get this done today to sort of round off a year that has been very, very challenging and different.

"Yeah, they're all sort of different. It's been nice. Back in 2019 I took down the No. 1 player in the world in Brooks Koepka. This year I took down the No. 1 player in the world in Scottie Scheffler. So I know that my best stuff is good enough to win any tournament against anybody on any golf course. That's something I can take away from today."

McIlroy was also asked what made him such a great final day chaser.

"Because I think out of anyone in the field, I care the least about the money," he said. "That's probably it.


"I've always loved coming to Ireland."

At the JP McManus Pro-Am, Tiger Woods spoke about why he loves playing golf in Ireland and his favourite courses to play.