Rory McIlroy exorcised two demons at the same time after winning the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup title for the second time in four years to pocket the £12.3m first prize in Atlanta.
McIlroy carded a closing 66 at East Lake to finish 18 under par, four shots ahead of American Xander Schauffele.
World No 1 Brooks Koepka, who held a one-shot lead after the third round, ran up a double bogey on the seventh and carded a hat-trick of bogeys on the back nine to slip into a tie for third with Justin Thomas.
A year ago, McIlroy played alongside Tiger Woods in the final round as the 15-time major winner was victorious at East Lake and just weeks he ago he partnered Koepka on the last day of the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational, carding a 71 to the American’s closing 65.
“I didn’t enjoy that walk last year like everyone else did, I played terribly,” admitted McIlroy, who joins Woods as the only two-time FedEx Cup winners. “I got myself in the final group and never took the fight to Tiger.
“Going up against the number one player in the world today, he got one over on me in Memphis and I wanted to sort of try to get some revenge so to play like that alongside Brooks and get the win, win the FedEx Cup it’s awesome. It’s amazing how different things can be in a year.”
McIlroy began the week by questioning the radical format which saw the player with the most FedEx Cup points after the BMW Championship (Thomas) starting on 10 under par.
The second-highest points earner began at eight under, the third-ranked player at seven under and so on, on a sliding scale down to the players in 26th to 30th who started on level par.
McIlroy started on five under par and could therefore could have shot the lowest 72-hole score and still not have won the title, but in the end his total of 13 under was the best in the field by three.
“My goal was to go and shoot the lowest score of the week,” added McIlroy. “I made those two bogeys on 14 and 15 and a huge par save on 16 and then was able to birdie the last two. Such a cool way to end what has been for me a great season. I’ll look back on this season and there’s been a lot of good things I’ve done and I’ll try to improve again for next year.
“I’ve given myself so many chances. To win three times is awesome. I feel like I could have won more but to win the FedEx Cup again, to keep giving myself chances even when I was getting knocked back, I’m very proud of myself.”