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Rory McIlroy wins golf's biggest ever prize pot after claiming Tour Championship title

James Corrigan
- USA TODAY Sports

Nobody can ever deny that it should take a magnificent display to collect $15m and so Rory McIlroy produced one on Sunday night by winning the Tour Championship and so with it the biggest first prize ever in golf. 

And whatever is said about McIlroy’s fifth majorless season in succession, there can be no doubt that 2019 will be a campaign that lives long in his, and his bank manager’s, memory.

The 30-year-old was not simply content with winning in Atlanta on the new controversial handicapped system - or with outduelling playing partner Brooks Koepka in the final round.  

That tussle with the world No 1 meant a lot to McIlroy, after being beaten so throughly by  Koepka in the WGC St Jude Classic three weeks ago. “Brooks got one over one on me at Memphis and I wanted to get a bit of revenge today,” he said.

But there was more. Much, much more. The Northern Irishman made it his mission to lift the East Lake title by taking the fewest strokes of the 30-man field, not merely by prevailing on the unprecedented format the PGA Tour brought in for their season finale.  

And with a 10-foofter for a birdie on the l18th, McIlroy believed that he had ensured that nobody could deny who was the player of the week at East Lake by shooting a 66 for an 18-under total. 

McIlroy celebrates his victory  Credit: USA TODAY Sports

“My goal was to shoot the lowest score of the week and that is why that putt on the last meant so much to me,” he said. “It was such a cool way to end. I’ve given myself so many chances this year and to win three times is awesome. I’m very proud of myself and will enjoy myself tonight.”

Much will be said about the radical overhaul of the climax to the PGA Tour, with the FedEx Cup standings dictating who began on what score in the first round of this event. Justin Thomas, was on 10-under, with Koepka on seven-under and McIlroy two further back. In the end, Xander Schaffelle came nearest in the handicap and in shots, but was four and three behind respectively  behind the new world No 2.

McIlroy joined Tiger Woods as the only other player to win multiple FedEx Cups and  reiterated his belief that the success was not about the money. “All that matters to me is this silverware,” he said.

On the Ladies European Tour, an emotional Carly Booth won her first title in seven years at the Czech Women’s Open. The Scot shot a 70 to finish on nine-under to finish a shot clear of a group including England’s Charlotte Thompson and Hayley Davis. At the Scandinavian Invitation on the European Tour, South African Erik Van Rooyen carded a closing 64 in Gothenburg to finish 19-under to deny England's Matt Fitzpatrick, who also shot a 64, by a shot.