Rory McIlroy throws shade at LIV after winning FedEx Cup for third time

Rory McIlroy questioned why you would want to play golf "anywhere else" after winning the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour for the third time.

Rory McIlroy throws shade at LIV after winning FedEx Cup for third time
Rory McIlroy throws shade at LIV after winning FedEx Cup for third time

Rory McIlroy became the first player in history to claim the FedEx Cup for the third time after he overcame a six-stroke deficit on the final day of the Tour Championship at East Lake to claim an $18million pay day

Despite McIlroy carding a third round of 7-under 63 in Atlanta, he needed a fast start if he was going to put the pressure on World No.1 and Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, who was chasing his fifth PGA Tour victory of a remarkable, breakout season. 

The Northern Irishman has had trouble with No.1 at East Lake this week. He started the final event of the PGA Tour season with a devastating triple bogey after hitting his tee shot out of bounds. And he made bogey to begin the final round. 

From there, McIlroy hit the right note. Birdies at 3, 5, 6 and 7 followed and he had chipped away at Scheffler's lead considerably. The Masters champion made bogey at 1, 4 and 6. He stopped the bleeding with a birdie at No. 8 but by this point it was a straight up shootout between two of the PGA Tour's brightest stars.

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Rory McIlroy throws shade at LIV after winning FedEx Cup for third time

McIlroy faltered at the the long par-4 14th but bounced back immediately at the 15th hole, draining a bomb from 31 feet to tie the lead. Perhaps someone up above was looking down favourably on the Ulsterman at 16 after he caught his fairway bunker shot far too cleanly. 

McIlroy twirled his short-iron but his golf ball sailed over the green and into the crowd. From there, he produced a stunning up and down when -  rather fortunately - his golf ball clattered into the pin after McIlroy played his flop shot. He held his par putt from seven feet whereas Scheffler, from the bunker, couldn't save his par. 

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By the time they had reached the 72nd hole, McIlroy had a one-stroke lead. Scheffler sent his second shot into the par-5 finishing hole into the bunker and couldn't manufacture anything special to extend the tournament. McIlroy made par despite hooking his approach into the bermudagrass.

McIlroy closed with a 4-under 66 to Scheffler's disappointing 3-over 73. 

"What a week, what a day. I feel like Scottie deserves at least half of this," McIlroy told the media. "He has had an unbelievable season, I feel so bad that I pipped him to the post but he's a hell of a competitor. He's an even better guy. It was an honour and a privilege to battle with him today. I'm sure we'll have many more [battles]. I [just] told him that it was one all between us in Georgia this year. He got The Masters and I got this." 

Rory McIlroy throws shade at LIV after winning FedEx Cup for third time

He added: "It means an awful lot. I believe in the game of golf. I believe in this Tour in particular. I believe in the players on this Tour. It is the greatest place in the world to play golf. This is an incredibly proud moment for me but it is also an incredibly proud moment for the PGA Tour.

"They've hard some hard times this year, but we're getting through it. That was a spectacle out there today, two of the best players going at it." 

Sungjae Im finished T-2 with Scheffler. Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa, Justin Thomas, Sepp Straka, Tony Finau and Tom Hoge finished inside the top-10. 

McIlroy admitted that winning the FedEx Cup softens the blow of missing out on his fifth major at St Andrews, when he was pipped to the Claret Jug by likely LIV-bound Cameron Smith.

It has been a tumultuous time in professional golf with the emergence of LIV Golf. McIlroy has taken a leading role in leading the PGA Tour's riposte to the Saudi-financed circuit. 

And he appeared to jibe LIV Golf after claiming victory. 

He told Sky Sports that the PGA Tour has "the deepest and strongest fields" and added: "I don't know why you would want to play anywhere else." 

This was McIlroy's 22nd PGA Tour win. It was his fourth season where he has won three or more times and his 12th victory when trailing going into the final round. 

Speaking to the media after his round, he was asked if sticking his neck out in opposition of LIV Golf had worn him down. 

He replied: "No, I don't think so, because if you believe in something I think you have to speak up, and I believe very strongly about this. I really do.

"I hate what it's doing to the game of golf. I hate it. I really do. Like it's going to be hard for me to stomach going to Wentworth in a couple of weeks' time and seeing 18 of them there. That just doesn't sit right with me.

"So yeah, I feel strongly. I believe what I'm saying are the right things, and I think when you believe that what you're saying is the right things, you're happy to stick your neck out on the line."

Previous FedEx Cup champions

  • 2007 Tiger Woods
  • 2008 Vijay Singh
  • 2009 Tiger Woods
  • 2010 Jim Furyk
  • 2011 Bill Haas
  • 2012 Brandt Snedeker
  • 2013 Henrik Stenson
  • 2014 Billy Horschel
  • 2015 Jordan Spieth
  • 2016 Rory McIlroy
  • 2017 Justin Thomas
  • 2018 Justin Rose
  • 2019 Rory McIlroy 
  • 2020 Dustin Johnson
  • 2021 Patrick Cantlay

Next page: PGA Tour pro voted against Tiger and Rory's changes

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