ATLANTA — Late Sunday afternoon, as Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler ready to play the ultimate gap of the Tour Championship, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan stood on a balcony of the East Lake Golf Membership clubhouse, overlooking the 18th inexperienced.
Monahan, who has had a tough summer time if you have not heard, had an enormous smile on his face.
Monahan is aware of that irrespective of which gamers LIV Golf takes from the PGA Tour on Monday, or within the coming days, weeks, months or years, it appears sure the rival tour won’t ever get McIlroy and Scheffler, two of the largest stars within the recreation not named Tiger Woods.
In April, Scheffler obtained the higher hand on McIlroy when he received his first main championship on the Masters and McIlroy completed second. On Sunday, McIlroy obtained even by rallying from a 6-shot deficit during the last 18 holes, the biggest final-round comeback in Tour Championship historical past.
With beginning strokes, McIlroy completed 21 beneath over 72 holes, 1 shot higher than Scheffler and South Korea’s Sungjae Im. McIlroy is the primary three-time winner of the FedEx Cup; the newest one got here with an $18 million winner’s purse.
“It means an terrible lot,” McIlroy stated. “I consider within the recreation of golf. I consider on this tour specifically. I consider within the gamers on this tour. It is the best place on the planet to play golf, bar none, and I’ve performed all around the world. That is an extremely proud second for me, nevertheless it must also be an extremely proud second for the PGA Tour.
“They’ve had some laborious occasions this 12 months, however we’re getting by way of it. That was a spectacle on the market at this time, two of the very best gamers on the planet going head-to-head for the largest prize on the PGA Tour, and I hope everybody at dwelling loved that.”
At the same time as Scheffler assumed the No. 1 place within the Official World Golf Rating by successful 4 occasions in six begins, the Summer season of Scottie nonetheless felt rather a lot just like the Summer season of Rory.
McIlroy, a four-time main champion, narrowly missed ending an eight-year drought with out successful one. After ending second to Scheffler at Augusta Nationwide Golf Membership, he got here in eighth on the PGA Championship, tied for fifth on the U.S. Open and third at The Open.
McIlroy’s close to miss on the a hundred and fiftieth Open Championship at St. Andrews in July was the one which was most painful. He entered the ultimate spherical tied with Norway’s Viktor Hovland for the lead however may handle solely a 2-under 70. Australia’s Cameron Smith carded an 8-under 64, together with a back-nine 30, and beat McIlroy by 2 strokes.
“I am solely human. I am not a robotic. After all you concentrate on it, and also you envision it, and also you need to envision it,” McIlroy stated of successful the Claret Jug.
McIlroy had received twice beforehand this season, on the CJ Cup @ Summit in October and the RBC Canadian Open in June. However his season would have felt considerably hole if he hadn’t taken dwelling the FedEx Cup on Sunday.
That is why his caddie, Harry Diamond, advised him on the 72nd gap on Sunday, “All the great golf you’ve got performed this 12 months, you deserved this.”
Whereas Scheffler was the very best participant this summer time and deserved to win the season-ending championship simply as a lot, McIlroy’s good work for the PGA Tour prolonged past the golf course.
When LIV Golf started signing a number of PGA Tour members to contracts, together with previous main champions Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, McIlroy was one of many loudest voices defending the PGA Tour. A lot in order that LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, a two-time winner of The Open, urged that McIlroy had been “brainwashed.”
“In case you consider in one thing I believe it’s important to converse up, and I consider very strongly about this,” McIlroy stated on Sunday. “I actually do. I hate what it is doing to the sport of golf. I hate it. I actually do.”
On Aug. 16, McIlroy and Tiger Woods hosted a gathering of greater than 20 of the PGA Tour’s high gamers in an try and rally them to remain. Whereas Woods, a 15-time main champion, was the loudest voice within the 3½-hour assembly, McIlroy’s voice mattered greater than that of some other participant commonly competing on the tour now.
“I do know he wished to win this not just for himself, however for the PGA Tour and actually make a press release,” Justin Thomas advised ESPN on Sunday. “He is the second-biggest star now we have out right here and it isn’t like he was simply provided that title. He is executed that with actually nice golf and nice time and work with the followers. He has a fantastic model. He does every thing you are presupposed to do to be within the place he is in.”
McIlroy stated he did not essentially intend to place himself in the course of the PGA Tour-LIV Golf battle. He joked that he picked the flawed time to affix the PGA Tour’s board of administrators.
“It has been a tumultuous time for the world of males’s skilled golf specifically,” McIlroy stated. “I have been proper in the course of it. I assume each likelihood I get, I am attempting to defend what I really feel is the very best place to play elite skilled golf on the planet. It is in some methods becoming that I used to be in a position to get this executed at this time to kind of spherical off a 12 months that has been very, very difficult and totally different.”
McIlroy admitted it has been tough at occasions to deal with his recreation with a lot occurring round him. This previous week, he participated in a board teleconference on Tuesday morning. The following day, he introduced a brand new enterprise with Woods and the PGA Tour. Their stadium-style interactive golf circuit, TGL, won’t straight compete towards LIV Golf, nevertheless it’s supposed to assist put more cash in PGA Tour gamers’ pockets. Gamers will compete on three-man groups for 2 hours on a digital course on Monday nights.
And, after all, the PGA Tour’s battle with LIV Golf for the very best gamers on the planet does not appear to be ending anytime quickly. LIV Golf is predicted to announce on Monday that Smith, the No. 2 participant on the planet, and no less than 5 different PGA Tour members are defecting. They’re anticipated to compete in subsequent week’s LIV Golf occasion at The Worldwide outdoors Boston.
“In a manner, it is my life,” McIlroy stated. “I do not actually know any totally different. In all honesty, golf has been the escape for me over the previous couple of weeks. I get contained in the ropes, nobody can get to me, and it is my escape from this different stuff that is occurring. However yeah, I assume I will change on and off fairly effectively, and I can compartmentalize issues.”
McIlroy stated it will likely be “laborious for me to abdomen” seeing 18 former PGA Tour members who at the moment are competing on the LIV Golf collection when he performs in DP World Tour’s BMW PGA Championship, scheduled for Sept. 8-11 at Wentworth Membership in Surrey, England. Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch, Reed and Jason Kokrak are among the many LIV Golf gamers anticipated to be there.
“That simply does not sit proper with me. So yeah, I really feel strongly,” McIlroy stated. “I consider what I am saying are the best issues, and I believe while you consider that what you are saying is the best issues, you are pleased to stay your neck out on the road.”
After successful one other FedEx Cup on Sunday, McIlroy can elevate his head a bit of increased.