ATLANTA (AP) — Rory McIlroy marched to the 18th green Sunday at East Lake with victory in hand and $15 million in the bank.
Even better was what he saw — and heard — behind him.
The scene was all too familiar. The gallery ducked under the ropes and rushed to encircle the green to watch the finish of a class performance in the Tour Championship. Before long, the chants began to ring out: “Rory! Rory! Rory!”
This time, McIlroy had the stage to himself.
A mere bystander last year amid the chaotic celebration of Tiger Woods’ return to victory, McIlroy soaked up the perfect ending to a solid year when he surged past Brooks Koepka, held off Xander Schauffele and captured the FedEx Cup and the richest payoff in golf.
Turning to Harry Diamond, his caddie and best friend, McIlroy told him, “This walk is a little more pleasant than last year.”
He closed with a 4-under 66 to finish four shots ahead of Schauffele, joining Woods as the only players to win the FedEx Cup twice.
“Any time you can do something that only Tiger has done, you’re doing something right,” McIlroy said.
There was so much more than $15 million — $14 million in cash, $1 million deferred — to this victory.