Rory McIlroy hits $11.5m FedEx jackpot in style
Title and cash windfall claimed as Ryan Moore beaten at fourth playoff hole
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland waits to hit a tee shot during the final round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 25th, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Kerching! Eventually, after four playoff holes.
Rory McIlroy – displaying wizardry and bravery – punched all the right numbers on the cash register as he spectacularly won the Tour Championship in a three-way playoff with Americans Ryan Moore and Kevin Chappell to scoop a $11.5 million payday in also claiming the FedEx Cup title.
Deprived of the jackpot by Brandt Snedeker in 2012, there was karma for McIlroy as he produced a superb final round 64 for 12-under-par 268 – coming home in 30 strokes with just 12 putts - to force his way into the play-off and produced further magical play to eventually outplay Moore on the fourth playoff hole.
That playoff started with a huge drive down the 18th, the first hole of sudden death, and then an iron approach that set up a six-footer for eagle. However, McIlroy’s eagle putt lipped out and he went into a second hole of sudden death with Moore, who manfully holed out from 12 feet for a birdie. Chappell, in trouble off the tee, only managed a bogey and bowed out. It was down to two, McIlroy and Moore.
On the second playoff hole, again the Par 5 18th, it was halved in pars and again, on the next hole, the Par 3 15th, it was halved. But McIlroy eventually got the job done with a brilliant 12-footer for birdie on the 16th - that same hole which had ignited his challenge in regulation - to claim the title.
A spectacular eagle two on the 16th in the final round of the Tour Championship galvanised McIlroy’s challenge for the FedEx Cup’s $10 million bonus jackpot and that moment of magic was sufficient to earn him a late shot at the megabucks payday as he went into a three-way playoff with Kevin Chappell and Ryan Moore.
The 27-year-old Northern Irishman got off to the perfect start with an opening birdie only to suffer a bogey on the Par 3 second where he found a greenside bunker. It would prove to be his only dropped shot, as he picked up birdies on the sixth, 10th and 11th and then holed out for that eagle two on the 16th.
McIlroy, the only member of Europe’s Ryder Cup team in the tournament, had a 14 footer for birdie on the 17th but, just as he had done on the 12th and 13th with similar chances, burned the hole to remain two shots behind leader Chappell at that point.
But Chappell bogeyed the 17th to open the door and McIlroy, after a wayward drive on the 18th, muscled a fairway wood out of the rough to a greenside bunker and tapped in for a birdie.
Chappell failed to birdie the last, and Moore – who shot a 64 of his own – also got into the playoff.
“I feel like I’m getting more and more comfortable with my putting each and every day and keep working on it and keep working on the same things and going through the processes on the course. I feel good,” said McIlroy.