Rory McIlroy hopes to ‘end PGA Tour season on a high’

Rory McIlroy will build on his success off the course as he bids for an unprecedented third FedEx Cup title and the $18m (£15.2m) first prize at the Tour Championship.

McIlroy and Tiger Woods, who are the only two-time winners of the event, were instrumental in ushering in significant changes announced by the PGA Tour on Wednesday in response to the threat posed by LIV Golf.

But McIlroy must now turn his attention to matters on the course as he attempts to overturn a significant handicap under the controversial system used for the season finale at East Lake.

Starting in 2019, the player with the most FedEx Cup points starts the Tour Championship at 10 under par, in this case world number one and Masters champion Scotty Scheffler.

As the second-highest point total, defending champion Patrick Cantlay starts at eight under and so on, on a sliding scale down to the 26th through 30th players who start at even par.

McIlroy starts the week four under alongside Open champion Cameron Smith, Tony Finau, Sepp Straka and Sungjae Im, but he can draw on his memories of a five-under start in 2019 and still emerge victorious.

“It’s always great to get to East Lake at the end of the year. It means you had a very solid season,” McIlroy said.

“I’ve had a lot of success at East Lake over the years. This is my ninth time and I’ve won a few of them. I’ve had chances most of the time I’ve been here to win the FedEx Cup.

Rory McIlroy, left, shakes hands with PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan after a news conference at East Lake (Steve Helber/AP)


“It’s great to have another opportunity to try to do something that no one has done before in the short history of the FedEx Cup.

“I felt like in Wilmington last week I was able to put my golf game together a little bit better and I played well. I need to hit a few more shots this week to have a chance.

“I just want to give it another solid week and try to finish the PGA Tour season on a high before I have a full five days off before I go to Europe and start playing there.”

Asked if his emergence as a key figure in the future of the PGA Tour was a positive or a negative, McIlroy added: “It’s invigorating when you can get things done.

“When you work on things for a while and nothing really comes to fruition, yeah, that’s when it starts to get tough. But when you see progress and break down a few barriers, it’s invigorating.”

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