As players tee off at the Tour Championship Thursday, Rory McIlroy will be looking to go back-to-back as the FedEx Cup Champ.
Rory McIlroy will head to East Lake with one thing on his mind. Going back-to-back as the FedEx Cup Champion by winning the Tour Championship.
I’ll stop you before you are able to come up with the number one reason that it might be difficult for someone in his position to win the event. Yes, Rory is at -4 to start, six shots back of Dustin Johnson.
Do you know where he started the tournament last year? Just -5. Only one stroke better than where he sits heading into the event this year.
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Sitting in nearly the same spot as 2019, there is no reason that Rory McIlroy can’t go back-to-back and win again this season.
It wasn’t even that he came back and scrapped by to find a win last year. He thoroughly and completely annihilated the rest of the competition. Although he started five strokes back, he would go on to win by four shots over Xander Schauffele, who was behind him by one to start.
Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka were the only ones that were even within view of Rory, both finishing five strokes back. No one else was within eight.
If Rory can come out this year and paly the course the same way that he played it last year, We are going to be in for a fantastic week of golf. We have seen some incredible golf from other players on Tour lately, namely Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm, the two golfers who are currently at the top of the standings, and in the lead at -10 and -8, respectively, heading to East Lake.
The only question for Rory… does he have it in his game right now to turn in the same kind of performance that we saw from him last year? Let’s take a look to see at how he was playing heading into the 2019 Tour Championship as compared to his play heading into this year’s event.
2019 – 1st, T-9th, MC, T-4th, T-6th, T-19th
2020 – T-32nd, T-41st, T-11th, T-32nd, T-47th, T-33rd, T-65th, T-12th
We are talking about Rory, someone who can get hot and outplay anyone on Tour. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like he is feeling it right now, as before shutdown Rory and after shutdown, Rory McIlroy has been two completely different players. The numbers listed above are for all of his starts since golf came back. Check out how he played before the break.
T-3rd, 1st, T-3rd, T-5th, 5th, T-5th.
That’s a completely different player. From six straight finishes in the top five to a now ongoing streak of eight straight events without a top ten finish.
There is an outside explanation for what is going on, and it could be the reason for why Rory hasn’t been 100% focused on the game of golf. His wife is due very soon to have the birth of their first child. Rory has very publically stated that whenever the time comes, he will be putting golf second, even mid-tournament, and leaving to witness the birth of his child.
You can play in a bunch of Tour Championships, but you can only see your first-born be born once.
Rory may not be in the best position to win heading into this week, but there is one thing you can’t argue. He is going to be the most exciting player to keep an eye on as he guns for back-to-back Tour Championship and FedEx Cup wins. Well, either that, or leaving mid-tournament to witness the birth of his child.