• Golf

McIlroy bemoans fatigue factor in FedEx failure

Bob Harig
September 15, 2014
Rory McIlroy says Billy Horschel was a worthy winner © AP

For just the fourth time in two months on Sunday, Rory McIlroy shot a score over par, a remarkable stretch of golf that saw him win two major championships and three tournaments in a row.

Unfortunately for McIlroy, his one-over-par 71 at East Lake Golf Club was three strokes too many, costing him not only the Tour Championship but the FedEx Cup title as well.

"It's been a long four weeks," McIlroy said of the FedEx Cup play-offs that began just two weeks after he captured the PGA Championship. "If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have taken a week off somewhere in this stretch of tournaments.

"But these sponsors that are sponsoring the tournaments and the FedEx Cup play-offs, they're putting up an awful lot of money to get the best players in the world to their event."

McIlroy did well to fight fatigue throughout the play-offs, bouncing back from his tie for second at the Barclays to post top-10s at the Deutsche Bank and BMW Championship, setting up an opportunity to win the FedEx Cup.

And he was tied with eventual champion Billy Horschel through 36 holes and still right there until a poor swing at the sixth hole led to a double-bogey. "Just a tired swing, a lazy swing," McIlroy said.

The world's No.1-ranked player also ran into a highly motivated and very hot Horschel, who prior to the playoffs had not posted a top-10 finish since June.

"He was very solid," McIlroy said. "Today he didn't really put a foot wrong, apart from the 10th hole there, and he made a huge putt on 16, a big up-and-down at 15, played the last two holes really well.

"So when he needed to, he could produce the shots. He was a very worthy winner."

And yet, McIlroy will undoubtedly be a worthy PGA Tour player of the year.

The Tour Championship concluded the season and McIlroy ended up with three victories - the Open Championship, WGC-Bridgestone and PGA - didn't miss a cut and was not outside the top 25. He ended up third in the final FedEx Cup standings, which brings a £1.2 million bonus.

"I really wanted to win," he said. "I really wanted to cap this year off well, even though it's still a great year. I was coming in here with really high hopes and expectations, and I haven't quite been able to play the golf to live up to those.

"But it's still been a great season for me, and there's still a little bit of golf left, and looking forward to some time off and get ready for the Ryder Cup."

McIlroy said he would head home to Northern Ireland sometime this week before heading to Scotland next Sunday to begin Ryder Cup preparations.

Since shooting a second-round 78 at the Scottish Open on July 11, McIlroy had just two other scores over par before Sunday - a 74 at the Barclays in the opening round three weeks ago and a 72 in the third round of last week's BMW Championship.

With the conclusion of the 2013-14 wraparound season on Sunday, McIlroy ended up as the tour's leading money winner with $8,280,096 (£5m).

This article first appeared on ESPN.com

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