A closing hole birdie was of little comfort to Rory McIlroy who ended a poorest PGA Tour season in failing to qualify for the defence of Thursday’s starting Tour Championship.
A dejected McIlroy – Image by Eoin Clarke Golffile.ie
McIlroy went to Chicago needing to break into the top-30 on the FedEx Cup standings to be assured of teeing-up in Atlanta.
But after shaking hands with playing partner and fellow Open Champion, Zach Johnson, McIlroy was projected after a round of 71 to end an injured-plagued season 59th on the FedEx Cup standings.
It is his worst performance on the Tour since moving full-time to the States in 2010.
McIlroy never got out of first gear at Conway Farms in posting earlier scores of 72, 69 and 70 ahead of a final day’s effort that included two outward nine birdies but also three inward half bogeys ahead of his 72nd hole three-footer for a level par 71 and a then share of 59th place on two-under. McIlroy now has just one event remaining and that’s the European Tour’s October 5th starting Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland. He will contest pro-am event in the company of his father, Gerry but it takes on more priority given McIlroy heads to the Home of Golf still without a win in 2017.
And McIlroy will not want reminding that of his 22 wins worldwide he has never tasted success in Scotland.
Four years ago, McIlroy headed ‘Down Under’ to Sydney also without a victory in 2013 only to be virtually gifted the Australian Open title when overwhelming crowd favourite Adam Scott bogeyed the final hole at Royal Sydney.
McIlroy has won at least one event each year since 2008 and his first full season in the pro ranks but after dismal showings in the two earlier Play-Off events, including missing the cut in the defence of his title a week ago in Boston, he clearly could not wait to ‘shut down’ his poorest-ever PGA season.
McIlroy had indicated recently that unless he won one of the Play-Off events that he would kick-start his 2017/18 PGA Tour season, and for a first occasion instead of the Middle East, in California.
That would now seem to be the January 25th commencing Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
It is a decision that will disappoint the European Tour given, and for all but earlier this year in losing a play-off in South Africa, McIlroy has always kick-started a New Year in the UAE.
RORY MCILROY – 2016/17 season PGA Tour Fact File.
No of events – 14
Best finish – T4th (WGC – HSBC Champions, Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Open).
Lowest score – 64 (Final round Travelers Championship – T17th)
Highest score- 78 (First round U.S. Open – Missed Cut)
Best finish in Majors – T4th Open Championship
Worst effort in Majors – Missed Cup U.S. Open, Erin Hills.
Best four rounds to par – 15-under WGC – HSBC Champions
Poorest effort to par – 5-over in missing cut U.S. Open.
Best FedEx Cup season finish – 1st (2016)
Poorest FedEx Cup season finish – 59th (2017 TBC).