September 14, 2014
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Rory McIlroy hit nine fairways and 12 greens in regulation during Sunday’s final round at East Lake. (Kevin Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA -- Four consecutive weeks of golf finally got the best of Rory McIlroy, who admitted Sunday that he was mentally fatigued.
It showed in his golf.
McIlroy struggled to a 1-over 71 in the final round at East Lake Golf Club. He finished the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in a tie for second with Jim Furyk, three strokes back of winner Billy Horschel. McIlroy, who started Sunday tied for the lead with Horschel, finished third in the FedExCup. He could have claimed the Cup with a victory Sunday.
"I just got really frustrated and just couldn't muster the energy to try and get something going again," said McIlroy, who faded with three consecutive bogeys in the middle of his round. "And even when I was hitting good shots, I was hitting bad putts."
It was just the third over-par round of the FedExCup Playoffs for McIlroy, who took 31 putts on Sunday.
McIlroy's troubles began on the difficult par-3 sixth, where he tugged his 5-iron left and into the water. It was a scenario eerily similar to two years ago when he had a chance to win the tournament and the FedExCup but made double-bogey on the hole.
There was no coming back this time, either.
Three holes later, McIlroy blocked his tee shot so far right that it landed next to a fence along the edge of the property. He went on to bogey the par-5 and followed with two more bogeys on Nos. 10 and 11.
By the time he made three consecutive birdies on Nos. 15-17, the deficit was too much to overcome.
"It's been a long four weeks," McIlroy said. "You know, if I had to do it all over again, I probably would have taken a week off somewhere in this stretch of tournaments. But you know, it's tough because -- you know, these sponsors that are sponsoring the tournaments and the FedExCup Playoffs, they're putting up an awful lot of money to get the best players in the world there to their event. Not that you feel obliged, but you want to support the events and you want to show up and give the sponsors something to be happy about and proud of."
McIlroy left East Lake proud of his season, which included two consecutive major championships (Open Championship, PGA Championship) and a World Golf Championship (Bridgestone Invitational).
He also is No. 1 in the world and will likely be named PGA TOUR Player of the Year. But in the end, he also couldn't help but feel like something was missing.
"I really wanted to win," McIlroy said. "I really wanted to cap this year off well, even though it's still been a great year. I was coming in here with really high hopes and expectations, and I haven't quite been able to play the golf to live up to those."
Rory McIlroy struggles off the tee on front nine at TOUR Championship