Rory McIlroy 2019 FedEx Cup Champion
My co-worker, Adam, asked me last Wednesday who I thought would win the FedEx Cup. I thought and thought and came up with – Rory McIlroy. I based my prediction on Rory’s past performance at East Lake – he’d compiled 4 top 10’s in 5 appearances including a win in 2016. He’d always looked comfortable there. He was in the final group with Tiger last year. All the signs, including this years’ 2 wins and tour leading 14 top-10s, were pointing in the right direction.
And I was right. Rory won. He shot a final round 66 to finish (format adjusted) play at 18 under par 262 and win by 4 shots over Xander Schauffele. Rory took home the $15 Million 1st place check that pushes his earnings for the year to a tour record $22,785,286. Quite a haul by any standards.
For added measure he becomes the first golfer to win THE PLAYERS and the TOUR Championship in the same season. And, with the win, McIlroy leapfrogged Dustin Johnson to regain his spot at No. 2 in the world rankings.
Here’s one reason why he won: McIlroy led the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (+5.314), SG: Tee to Green (+10.968), and Driving Distance (314.6 yards average). He also was the only player in the field to post four rounds in the 60s. That’s a winning formula.
But another less obvious reason is an even better indicator and perhaps provides a glimpse of what next year and beyond might portend for the rest of the tour. He managed to put behind any number of disappointments – including a final round mauling by Koepka at WGC-Memphis, and last years’ FedEx Cup 4th round final pairing melt down - and finished the round and the year powerfully.
As he pointed out in his presser: “I think some of the work that I’ve put in on the mental side of the game, … I think you’re starting to see the fruition of that.”
Well if that’s the case watch out in 2020. He’s only 30. And he now has 30 worldwide wins. And he’s an incredible talent.
Should be a fun next year!