• The Barclays

McIlroy's trophy-laden run comes to an end

August 24, 2014
Rory McIlroy could not make it four successive tournament wins at The Barclays © Getty Images

There is no point in Rory McIlroy beating himself up too much over his results this week at The Barclays.

A poor first round left him scrambling to make the cut, a strong second round put him on the fringe of contention, but there just weren't enough birdies over the weekend to make a move.

Mahan times Barclays win to perfection

  • Hunter Mahan pulled away with three straight birdies to win The Barclays on Sunday, ending a 0-for-46 drought on the PGA Tour. The victory could not have come at a better time.
  • Mahan now is assured of making the Tour Championship every year since the FedEx Cup began in 2007. He is the only player to never miss a play-off event.
  • And by beating one of the strongest fields of the year, he made a strong impression on Tom Watson as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup team.
  • Mahan closed with a 6-under 65. He made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole to take the lead, hit his approach to 3 feet on the 16th and sealed the win with a 20-foot birdie on the 17th.

So McIlroy settled for another round of 70 on Sunday, a nice effort during the final round of the first FedEx Cup play-off event, but one that left him well out of contention.

"It was going to come to an end sooner or later," McIlroy said of his three-tournament winning streak that included two major championships. "But at the end of the day, the great thing about golf is always there's next week.

"Looking forward to going to Boston, a course where I've had success before and I've played well there, and I feel like my game is in good shape. So there's no reason why I can't go there next week and challenge for the title there."

McIlroy, who is ranked No.1 in the world, came into the tournament first in FedEx Cup points but was projected to drop to fourth when he completed his round in a tie for 23rd. That is the nature of the play-offs, which give five times more points than regular tournaments.

After winning The Open, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and US PGA Championship, McIlroy couldn't find much to fret about at Ridgewood Country Club despite leaving without a trophy for the first time in more than a month.

"Tee to green is very solid," he said. "I can't really fault that. The only thing that let me down is my putting. I just didn't convert the birdie opportunities I was giving myself and I had plenty of them over the weekend. So a little bit of work in the putting the next few days and hopefully it will be a different story in Boston next week."

McIlroy was thought to be leaning toward skipping one of the four FedEx events, and the BMW Championship in Denver would be the most likely.

He has made no secret of his desire to win the FedEx Cup - which comes with a £6 million ($10m) bonus - and can greatly enhance his chances by being among the top five in points heading to the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

But the volatility of the points will make it difficult to skip an event and be assured of being in the top five. If McIlroy were to win at TPC Boston that possibility exists, but otherwise it appears he will play at Cherry Hills in two weeks.

"I was thinking about it [skipping], but I feel fine," he said. "I feel fresh. I have no problem playing a lot of golf. I'll see where I stand next week but I'm 90 percent going to be in Denver for sure.

"Not one of the main reasons, but one of the reasons why I want to go to Denver as well is the Broncos play the Colts on Sunday night [in the NFL opener on September 7]. So I want to go to that as well, first game of the season.

"I've heard a lot of great things about Cherry Hills. The ball obviously goes a mile there, so I'm looking forward to that ... like hitting 7-irons 220 [yards]. I'm all set for there. I definitely don't think I will skip any of them."

The Barclays final leaderboard

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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