Along with his FedEx Cup win, the PGA Tour caps off the Summer season of Rory McIlroy

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ATLANTA — Late Sunday afternoon, as Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler ready to play the ultimate gap of the Tour Championship, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan stood on a balcony of the East Lake Golf Membership clubhouse, overlooking the 18th inexperienced.

Monahan, who has had a tough summer season if you have not heard, had a giant smile on his face.

Monahan is aware of that regardless of which gamers LIV Golf takes from the PGA Tour on Monday, or within the coming days, weeks, months and years, it appears sure they will by no means get McIlroy and Scheffler, two of the most important stars within the sport not named Tiger Woods.

In April, Scheffler got the upper hand on McIlroy when he gained his first main championship on the Masters and McIlroy completed second. On Sunday, McIlroy received even by rallying from a 6-shot deficit over the past 18 holes, the most important final-round comeback in Tour Championship historical past.

With starting strokes, McIlroy completed 21 below over 72 holes, 1 shot higher than Scheffler and South Korea’s Sungjae Im. McIlroy is the primary three-time winner of the FedEx Cup, the newest one got here with an $18 million winner’s purse.

“It means an terrible lot,” McIlroy mentioned. “I imagine within the sport of golf. I imagine on this Tour specifically. I imagine within the gamers on this Tour. It is the best place on this planet to play golf, bar none, and I’ve performed all around the world. That is an extremely proud second for me, but it surely must also be an extremely proud second for the PGA Tour.

“They’ve had some arduous occasions this yr, however we’re getting by it. That was a spectacle on the market at this time, two of the perfect gamers on this planet going head-to-head for the most important prize on the PGA Tour, and I hope everybody at residence loved that.”

Whilst Scheffler assumed the No. 1 place within the Official World Golf Rating by successful 4 occasions in six begins, the Summer season of Scottie nonetheless felt quite a bit just like the Summer season of Rory.

McIlroy, a four-time main champion, narrowly missed ending an eight-year drought with out successful one. After ending second to Scheffler at Augusta Nationwide Golf Membership, he got here in eighth on the PGA Championship, tied for fifth on the U.S. Open and third at The Open.

McIlroy’s near-miss on the a hundred and fiftieth Open Championship at St. Andrews in July was the one which was most painful. He entered the ultimate spherical tied with Norway’s Viktor Hovland for the lead, however might handle solely a 2-under 70. Australia’s Cameron Smith carded an 8-under 64, together with a back-nine 30, and beat McIlroy by 2 strokes.

“I am solely human. I am not a robotic. After all you consider it, and also you envision it, and also you wish to envision it,” McIlroy mentioned of successful the Claret Jug.

McIlroy had gained twice beforehand this season, on the CJ Cup @ Summit in October and the RBC Canadian Open in June. However his season would have felt considerably hole if he hadn’t taken residence the FedEx Cup on Sunday.

That is why his caddie, Harry Diamond, informed him on the 72nd gap on Sunday, “All the great golf you’ve got performed this yr, you deserved this.”

Whereas Scheffler was the perfect participant this summer season and deserved to win the season-ending championship simply as a lot, McIlroy’s good work for the PGA Tour prolonged past the golf course.

When LIV Golf started signing a number of PGA Tour members to contracts, together with previous main champions Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, McIlroy was one of many loudest voices defending the PGA Tour. A lot in order that LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, a two-time winner of The Open, urged that McIlroy had been “brainwashed.”

“In case you imagine in one thing I believe it’s a must to communicate up, and I imagine very strongly about this,” McIlroy mentioned on Sunday. “I actually do. I hate what it is doing to the sport of golf. I hate it. I actually do.”

On Aug. 16, McIlroy and Tiger Woods hosted a gathering of greater than 20 of the PGA Tour’s prime gamers in an try and rally them to remain. Whereas Woods, a 15-time main champion, was the loudest voice within the three-and-a-half-hour assembly, McIlroy’s voice mattered greater than every other participant commonly competing on the Tour now.

“I do know he needed to win this not just for himself, however for the PGA Tour and actually make a press release,” Justin Thomas informed ESPN on Sunday. “He is the second-biggest star now we have out right here and it isn’t like he was simply provided that title. He is completed that with actually nice golf and nice time and work with the followers. He has an important model. He does every thing you are speculated to do to be within the place he is in.”

McIlroy mentioned he did not essentially intend to place himself in the course of the PGA Tour-LIV Golf battle. He joked that he picked the fallacious time to hitch the PGA Tour’s Board of Administrators.

“It has been a tumultuous time for the world of males’s skilled golf specifically,” McIlroy mentioned. “I have been proper in the course of it. I suppose each probability I get, I am attempting to defend what I really feel is the perfect place to play elite skilled golf on this planet. It is in some methods becoming that I used to be in a position to get this completed at this time to type of spherical off a yr that has been very, very difficult and totally different.”

McIlroy admitted it has been tough at occasions to concentrate on his sport with a lot happening round him. This previous week, he participated in a board teleconference on Tuesday morning. The subsequent day, he introduced a brand new enterprise with Woods and the PGA Tour. Their stadium-style interactive golf circuit, TGL, won’t straight compete towards LIV Golf, but it surely’s meant to assist put more cash in PGA Tour gamers’ pockets. Gamers will compete on three-man groups for 2 hours on a digital course on Monday nights.

And, in fact, the PGA Tour’s battle with LIV Golf for the perfect gamers on this planet would not appear to be ending anytime quickly. LIV Golf is predicted to announce on Monday that Smith, the No. 2 participant on this planet, and not less than 5 different PGA Tour members are defecting. They’re anticipated to compete in subsequent week’s LIV Golf occasion at The Worldwide exterior Boston.

“In a manner, it is my life,” McIlroy mentioned. “I do not actually know any totally different. In all honesty, golf has been the escape for me over the previous few weeks. I get contained in the ropes, nobody can get to me, and it is my escape from this different stuff that is happening. However yeah, I suppose I can swap on and off fairly properly, and I can compartmentalize issues.”

McIlroy mentioned it will likely be “arduous for me to abdomen” seeing 18 former PGA Tour members who at the moment are competing on the LIV Golf sequence when he performs in DP World Tour’s BMW PGA Championship, scheduled for Sept. 8-11 at Wentworth Membership in Surrey, England. Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch, Reed and Jason Kokrak are among the many LIV Golf gamers anticipated to be there.

“That simply would not sit proper with me. So yeah, I really feel strongly,” McIlroy mentioned. “I imagine what I am saying are the proper issues, and I believe once you imagine that what you are saying is the proper issues, you are pleased to stay your neck out on the road.”

After successful one other FedEx Cup on Sunday, McIlroy can elevate his head slightly greater.

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