McIlroy chasing historic FedEx hat trick in East Lake

Ronan MacNamara

Rory McIlroy speaks during a press conference prior to the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy is bidding to become the first player to win three FedEx Cup titles when he tees it up in East Lake today at the Tour Championship. 

McIlroy will have to overcome a six-shot deficit if he is to beat Scottie Scheffler and win the Tour Championship for the third time and lift the FedEx Cup before he heads to Europe to try and win a fourth Race to Dubai gong. 

“Yeah, I’ve had a lot of success at East Lake over the years. This is my ninth time at East Lake, and I’ve won a couple of them,” explained the Holywood native. “I’ve had chances the majority of the times I’ve been here to win the FedExCup. 


“Great to have another opportunity to try to do something that no one has ever done before in the short history of what the FedExCup is. 

“But yeah, excited to be back. 

“I felt like I got my golf game together a little bit better in Wilmington last week and played okay. I need to make a few more putts this week to have a chance. 

“Yeah, just want to give it another solid week and try to finish the PGA TOUR season on a high before I have a whopping five days off before I go over to Europe and start playing over there,” added the four-time major champion. 

The FedEx Cup points have been reset and the much-maligned aggregate scoring system has been put in play meaning McIlroy tees off on four-under, six shy of FedEx Cup leader Scheffler who will begin from ten-under-par. 

Another intriguing storyline in this season finale is the announcement of a new PGA Tour structure which will see the top players play at least 20 times in elevated events next season in what will come as a blow to LIV. 

Controversially, McIlroy has been paired with his Open Championship conqueror Cameron Smith who has been heavily linked with LIV Golf since holing the winning putt in St Andrews and the 33-year-old revealed he tried to persuade the Australian to delay his decision about leaving the PGA Tour with the hope that the most recent announcement will coax the likes of Smith, Hideki Matsuyama and others to remain on Tour. 

“So my whole thing, like I had a conversation with Cameron Smith two days after the Open, and firstly, I wanted to congratulate him, but also I wanted — guys that are thinking one way or another, honestly I don’t care if they leave or not. It’s not going to make a difference to me. 

“But I would at least like people to make a decision that is completely informed and basically know this is what’s coming down the pipeline. This is what you may be leaving behind. 

“I just don’t want people making decisions — hearing information from one side and not from another. So I think that’s sort of been my whole thing this entire time. I’ve always said guys can do whatever they want. Guys can make a decision that they feel is best for themselves and their families. But I want guys to make decisions based on all of the facts. 

“Sometimes I don’t think some guys made those decisions based on having all the facts in front of them.” 


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