2019 Tour Championship leaderboard, scores: Rory McIlroy wins FedEx Cup for second time in four years
McIlroy dominated the final 18 holes at East Lake to capture the Tour Championship and a huge prize
In what he called a bit of "revenge" after the round, Rory McIlroy went out last with Brooks Koepka at the 2019 Tour Championship on Sunday, shot a 66 and won his second FedEx Cup in the last four years.
It was a reversal of their final round at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational a few weeks ago when Koepka dusted the Ulsterman as McIlroy didn't miss a shot. High, cutting drives, low, stinging bullet 3-woods, tight wedges, blitzed long irons. He almost literally hit the center of every single club face he looked at on Sunday, and he has the numbers (first in driving and first from tee to green this week) to back it up.
"It was pretty cool," said McIlroy regarding fans chanting his name on the way to the 18th green. "I must say, I didn't enjoy that walk last year like everyone else did. ... Going up against the No. 1 player in the world today, he got one over on me in Memphis, and I wanted to sort of get some revenge today. To play like that alongside Brooks, get the win and win the FedEx Cup, yeah, it's awesome. It's amazing how different things can be in a year."
Following a 2-under 33 on the front nine, McIlroy effectively ended the event with birdies at Nos. 12 and 13 on the back to get to 18 under, running laps around the rest of the field. He bogeyed the next two, but it didn't matter. He made a clutch par at No. 16 and stuck the dagger in on No. 17 with a final birdie to go up three strokes with one hole to go. An additional birdie at 18 was just a cherry on top of his finial-round 66.
"My goal today was to go and win, not the normal tournament but win by even strokes. ... My goal was to just shoot the lowest score of the week. I think with the birdie on the last, I did that," McIlroy told NBC. "... It's such a cool way to end what has been for me a great season. I'll look back on this season [fondly]. There's a lot of good things I've done. Will try to improve for next year again."
The numbers -- both financially (the first-ever $15 million win) and statistically -- are staggering. They've been the way all year though. The final tally for Rory in 2018-19 on the PGA Tour looks something like this.
- Three wins
- Top 10 in 74 percent of events
- Best non-Tiger Woods strokes-gained season this century
- $23 million in earnings
- Second golfer to win multiple FedEx Cups (Tiger Woods)
- Third golfer to win multiple Tour Championships (Woods, Phil Mickelson)
Some will respond with, "Yeah, but what about the major championships ..." where Rory could only muster two top-10 finishes with neither of them heavy on Sunday contention, and that's a fair stance to take. It also begs a lot of questions that I'm not sure have actual answers.
It's not unfair to judge golf's superstars exclusively by how many major championships they win ... until it is. McIlroy is the best evidence we have that straddling this line between two worlds can be frustrating and difficult. McIlroy himself would undoubtedly trade everything this year -- all of the money and the top 10s and even the wins -- for just one major championship victory, but what he accomplished wasn't nothing. It was a real season full of outlandish achievement for somebody who hears the whispers of disappointment when he doesn't claim one of the big four events.
This leaves us in a complicated spot to be sure. McIlroy was awesome on Sunday just as he was all year. He took the Players Championship and Canadian Open in addition to his $15-million win on Sunday. He became the first to win the Players and Tour Championship in the same season. Nobody won more on the PGA Tour this season. Nobody had a better strokes-gained number. Nobody made more money. Nobody had more top 10s.
"I think I've given myself so many chances. To win three times [this year] is awesome. I feel like I could've won more," he said. "To win the FedEx Cup again, to persist the whole way throughout the year, to keep giving myself chances even when I was getting knocked back and not be denied. Very proud of myself, and I'm going to enjoy this one tonight."
McIlroy's season was a massive success of course. We overvalue the majors and undervalue everything else. McIlroy is (and has always been) an unreal talent. That talent reemerged in 2019 and remained steady throughout. That there would even be an addendum for somebody who made $23 million on the course and won three times is a testament to the bar McIlroy has set for himself over the course of his career (and the sway the majors hold over us).
One thing we learned for sure is that McIlroy's resume is far from complete. His Wikipedia page far from filled out. There seems to be loads left in the tank for somebody who's done everything you can feasibly do in this sport. Climbing back into this spot atop the golf world and remaining there all season is evidence of a drive that remains unsatiated, and we should be excited to see what more McIlroy unearths in 2020. Grade: A+
Here are the rest of our grades for the 2019 Tour Championship.
Brooks Koepka (T3): Great year? Yes. Great week? Sure. Great day on Sunday at East Lake? No. Just like the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational a few weeks ago where you could just tell early on that McIlroy didn't have the goods as those two teed off in the final pairing, you could tell Koepka didn't have it early. He gave himself just three looks inside 25 feet on the front nine. That was compounded by the ball he lost on No. 7 that resulted in a double bogey, and it was all McIlroy from there. Koepka won't be devastated, though his financial advisor might be, that he had the goods in Memphis but not East Lake. He still wins a truck full of money and will likely take his second straight Player of the Year award. Grade: B
Justin Thomas (T3): It's hard to see this as anything other than a missed opportunity for J.T. He came into the week leading the field at 10 under and could only muster a 3-under 277 on the week. He really fell out of the mix at the top with a triple bogey in Round 3 early on Sunday morning and couldn't make up the difference later in the day during the final round. In an opposite showing of last week, he drove it beautifully but did not hit his irons well at all, losing strokes to the field in that category. Considering his injury struggle earlier in the year, finishing in the top five at the Tour Championship was a good outcome for him, but he'll be frustrated that he didn't nab his second Tour Championship in the last three years. Grade: B-
Dustin Johnson (T29): D.J. started the event 3 under and T11. He ended it 10 over and in last. In between he played some of the worst golf we've seen him play over the course of 72 holes. Johnson shot 73-72-75-73 over his four rounds at East Lake and lost nearly 10 strokes to the field on his approach shots, an unfathomable number for somebody with his talent. It caps a very strange second half of the season for the No. 2 golfer in the world after he crushed at the beginning of the year. Grade: D-
CBS Sports was with you the entire way updating this story with the latest scores, analysis and highlights from Sunday at the 2019 Tour Championship. If you are unable to view the updates below, please click here. Can't get enough golf? Subscribe to The First Cut with Kyle Porter where we take a weekly look at everything in the world of golf.
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