Rory McIlroy has been crowned the 2019 PGA Tour champion after winning the season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club.
Sitting in fifth place in the FedExCup series standings before the final event, McIlroy started at five-under par and with a five shot deficit to leader Justin Thomas in a new format that was largely well received and also helped create final day drama.
But that didn’t stop four-time major winner McIlroy producing the best golf of the weekend to collect the $15 million first prize as he was crowned FedEx champion for the second time in his career to become only the second multiple winner after Tiger Woods.
In fact, it was a dominant victory for McIlroy as he signed off the week at 18-under par and four clear of Xander Schauffele, who began at four-under par. Brooks Koepka, who started at seven-under, was tied third along with pre-Tour Championship leader Thomas.
The win capped a memorable year for McIlroy and was his third PGA Tour success having also won the Players Championship and Canadian Open. In arguable his most consistent season yet, McIlroy made 19 PGA TOUR appearances this season and finished in the top 10 on 14 occasions.
After a final round 66 to see off the threat of playing partner Koepka, McIlroy said: “To play like that alongside Brooks and win, it’s awesome. My goal today (in the final round) was to go and shoot the lowest score of the week. It’s been such a cool way to end what has been for me a great season.
“To win the FedExCup on multiple occasions is a pretty big deal. Any time you can do something which only Tiger Woods has done, you know you’re doing something right.
“Three wins, another FedExCup, a Players Championship, which I’ve never won before, this season is right up there with one of the best I’ve played. People will maybe look and say I haven’t won any majors this year, but I feel like I’ve played some of the best golf of my career so I will rate this 2019 season very highly.”
McIlroy becomes world number two behind Koepka in the Official World Golf Rankings following the Tour Championship victory.
The one negative on a memorable year was the disappointment of missing the cut at the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, the venue where is not only a member but the course record holder too.
With the eyes of the world and the hopes of a nation resting on his shoulders on the return of the Open to Northern Ireland, it was a disastrous opening hole and opening round that cost him dearly as McIlroy missed the cut by a single shot and emotionally bowed out at the halfway stage.
But the victory in the Tour Championship will go some way to making up for the disappointment suffered in the one event he would so dearly have wanted to win.