It was just meant to be, wasn’t it?
After one of the most seismic, tumultuous weeks golf has ever seen, one so frenetic it was easy to forget there was a season finale taking place on the course, suddenly we were treated to one of the greatest showdowns in PGA Tour history as Rory McIlroy produced an epic comeback to win the 2022 Tour Championship.
It seemed a foregone conclusion before the final round got underway in Atlanta – World No 1 Scottie Scheffler leading by six shots and cruising to the mouth-watering $18 million cash prize. Then, the one horse race became a three horse race.
From nowhere, the man so calm en route to winning his maiden major at the Masters imploded, dropping three shots in his first six holes to see his lead fall to one with a surging McIlroy and Sungjae Im hot on his heels.
One hole later, Scheffler and McIlroy were level – the Northern Irishman firing up the putter again with his third straight birdie to setup a back nine showdown no one saw coming.
Some stoic nerves saw Scheffler settle himself through the turn, before the turning point arrived on the par-4 16th. After both big guns missed the green, McIlroy etched ahead of his rival when his chip rattled the flagstick to help him eventually save par – something Scheffler failed to match.
This all-time classic then ended with more drama on 18. With Scheffler long, McIlroy was gifted a free drop when his approach ricocheted off the grand stand, allowing the four-time major winner to chip on and two-putt for the most heroic of victories.
But the story seeps further than his incredible comeback. In a week where he continued to lead the PGA Tour’s fight against LIV Golf off the course, how fitting was it that McIlroy – just as he did at the Canadian Open – would come up trumps with a performance for the ages on it.
“What a week. What a day,” McIlroy said after the victory. “I believe in the game of golf. I believe in this Tour. I believe in the players on this Tour. It’s the greatest Tour in the world bar-none.
“It’s an incredibly proud moment for me, and it’s an incredibly proud moment for the PGA Tour. That was a spectacle out there today.”
On top of that, record upon record. A third FedEx Cup for McIlroy, one more than Tiger Woods, and a 12th PGA Tour win since 2010 after being behind heading into the final round – four more than anyone else.
And, who can forget he started the week with a triple bogey, joining Joohyung Kim as the only two players in 44 years to land a win after opening with the score. Simply incredible.
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Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?