Rory McIlroy ended his wait for FedEx Cup success with a thrilling play-off win at the Tour Championship.
Rory McIlroy survived a gruelling four-hole play-off on Sunday against Ryan Moore and Kevin Chappell to win the Tour Championship and improbably hoist the FedEx Cup for the first time in his career.
When the FedEx Cup play-offs began five weeks ago, few gave McIlroy, who was not even inside the top 30 at the start of the post-season, a chance.
But the Northern Irishman won two FedEx Cup play-off events, including a dramatic finish on Sunday at East Lake capped with a 12-foot birdie putt on the final play-off hole to beat Moore.
Victory for Moore would have handed Dustin Johnson FedEx Cup glory, but instead it was McIlroy's moment to savour.
"At the start of the day all I wanted to do was come out and win," McIlroy said on Golf Channel after the round.
"I played really well this week and I feel like my game is coming together at the right time. I played alongside Ryan all day today, and he should be proud of himself."
McIlroy fought his way back into contention with a final-round six-under 64 — tying Moore and Paul Casey for the best round of the week — to get to 12 under for the tournament and wait as Chappell finished the 72nd hole with a par, thus forcing in a three-man play-off.
Fireworks first started going off when McIlroy holed out for eagle on the par-fourth 16th hole in regulation. The shot reverberated throughout the course, letting everyone know McIlroy had made his move.
McIlroy then made an impressive birdie on the par-five 18th hole to earn a spot in the play-off. Chappell had a chance to birdie 18 to win outright, but after dropping a shot on 17, he looked nervous and settled for a par.
The first play-off hole was McIlroy's to lose, and he did, when he missed a six-foot eagle putt set up by a fabulous iron shot into the tough 18th green. Moore made birdie to continue on, but Chappell again settled for par, ending his run.
McIlroy and Moore halved two more times, once on the 18th and then on the par-three 15th, before they made their way to the 16th — the hole McIlroy had earlier holed out for eagle on.
Moore went just over the green on his second shot, and his chip left a lot to be desired, but he drained a 15-footer for par while McIlroy read his birdie putt. With the crowd waiting anxiously for him to putt, McIlroy reared his putter and sunk his birdie to a huge roar from the crowd, forgetting they were just jeering the soon-to-be Ryder Cup competitor a couple of holes earlier.
McIlroy waved to the crowd in semi-shock as he tried to comprehend how he had just won the FedEx Cup and the $10 million bonus that comes with it.
Joy for McIlroy meant heartbreak for Johnson, who entered the final round with a share of the lead only to shot a disastrous three-over 73 — the worst score of the day — that forced him to finish tied for sixth at five under.