Rory McIlroy knew what he had to do to cash the $10 million bonus check that Brandt Snedeker pocketed with his three-shot Tour Championship win on Sunday. The world No. 1, and runner-up in the FedEx Cup sweepstakes, conceded he was disheartened not to cap off his stellar PGA Tour season with one more victory, but promised to shrug it off in time for the upcoming Ryder Cup.
“It is disappointing. I feel like the last month of golf has been obviously very good, starting with the PGA [Championship],” McIlroy, the winner of four tour events this year, including the season’s final major and two FedEx Cup events in a row, told reporters after carding a final-round four-over 74. “It's just in these playoffs, you've got to play well in nearly every event. I've played well in a couple of them....I finished in the top 10 here, but it wasn't enough.”
McIlroy, who finished tied for 10th -- nine shots back of Snedeker’s winning score of 10-under -- said he would take a short break and then head to Medinah Country Club to prepare for the biennial tourney between his European squad and Team U.S.A.
“I'm looking forward to meeting up with all the guys. Just to get back into that team atmosphere and team spirit. It should be good fun,” McIlroy said. “I'm just going to go there and enjoy it and try and help team Europe out as much as I can.”
With the players turning their attention to the Ryder Cup, critics of the FedEx Cup’s points reset format may claim that McIlroy deserved the title before he even teed it up at East Lake. After all, the two-time major champ dominated the playoffs, winning back-to-back at the Deutsche Bank and BMW Championships, but came up short in the series finale.
“I don’t think that’s quite fair,” Tiger Woods, in a pre-Tour Championship press conference, said about just such a possibility. “But that is our current system.”
McIlroy, however, declined to join the chorus of naysayers.
“It's just the nature of [the playoffs], the way it is,” he said. “I'm not going to criticize the format. You've got to play well every week. I knew if I came in here and won the tournament, that I'd win the whole thing, and that was the goal, and it didn't happen.
“That was the goal for Brandt as well. He was top five coming in here, and he knew if he won, he'd win the whole thing. He did. He knew what he needed to do, and he did it great.”
Now it’s on to Medinah for McIlroy, who will try to rev it back up after hitting just three fairways in regulation on Sunday and halting his streak of 11 straight rounds in the 60s. He acknowledged that playing seven tourneys in the past two months had been a grind and he looked forward to a brief hiatus before meeting Woods, Snedeker, and the rest of the Americans in the first Ryder Cup matches on Friday.
“Yeah, just one week after another,” McIlroy said. “I’m going to have a nice day off tomorrow, just not do anything. Meet up with the rest of the team and then get the focus on the Ryder Cup again.
“It should be a great week,” he said.