Not even a $15 million prize could help Rory McIlroy cleanly lift the imposing FedEx Cup.
McIlroy shot a four-under 66 in Sunday's final round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta to bring his tournament total to 18 under. It was enough to eclipse second-place finisher Xander Schauffele by four strokes and capture the FedEx Cup title and the prize money that comes with it.
The celebration required some heavy lifting:
McIlroy had to make up some ground heading into the Tour Championship considering he was fifth in the FedEx Cup standings behind Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed. The road to the title was clearer, though, with a simplified new format for this year's tournament that relied on staggered stroke play instead of overall points.
Thomas started at 10 under as the leader, while Cantlay (eight under), Koepka (seven under), Reed (six under) and McIlroy (five under) were chasing from second through fifth place, respectively.
Those from sixth to 10th place started at four under, those from 11th to 15th place started at three under, those from 16th to 20th place started at two under, those from 21st through 25th place started at one under and those from 26th through 30th place started at even par.
McIlroy finished with a lower score than Thomas, who finished in a tie for third with Koepka at 13 under, in all four rounds but had to hold off Schauffele with clutch putting down the stretch.
The victor's grasp on the tournament appeared to slip with bogeys on Nos. 14 and 15, but he bounced back with a critical par save on 16, a birdie on 17 to create some breathing room and another birdie on 18 to clinch.
The end result was $15 million and a trophy-based weight-lifting session.