This touching gesture from Rory McIlroy put a bow to his storybook win
Scottie Scheffler’s dream season seemed destined for a dream ending.
With a six-stroke lead over three rounds of the season-ending Tour championship, Scheffler was heading for his fifth win of the year, plus the FedEx Cup title and the $18 million salary that will win him. accompanied.
But in the final round at East Lake, Scheffler couldn’t rise to the occasion. He bogged three of his first six holes, and on the seventh hole Rory McIlroy had caught him. He and McIlroy dueled midway through the heat, but when Scheffler failed to get up and down on 16, McIlroy took the lead and never gave it up.
McIlroy, who opened the tournament with a triple bogey and at one point was double digits off the lead, was the unlikely winner.
And then something even more unlikely happened.
As McIlroy left the 18th green, one of the first people he encountered was the father of the player he had just beaten by seven strokes and, in essence, taken millions from.
Annoying? It could have been, of course. But instead, it turned out to be something more comforting.
McIlroy walked straight up to Scheffler’s father, who is also named Scott, hugged him and said, “I’m sorry.”
I am sorry. Imagine that. Apologize for doing your job.
“No, you don’t have to do that,” Scott said.
“He deserves it,” McIlroy said; at this point, they were talking over each other. “He’s had an incredible year.”
“I love you too,” Scott said smiling.
It was one of the sweetest scenes you’ve ever seen in the fierce world of professional golf. And it didn’t stop there.
Meredith Scheffler, Scottie’s wife, also stepped in for a hug.
“So proud of you,” she said. ” It’s incredible. You kicked ass today. Congratulation.”
Then it was Scottie’s mother’s turn. Another hug for McIlroy and more words of encouragement: “Congratulations. Good work. Good work.”
Nobody likes to see their son or husband lose, but if it has to happen, McIlroy qualifies as a lovable foil. Especially this year. Faced with the rise of LIV Golf, McIlroy has become the most vocal brand ambassador on the PGA Tour. If he does not sing the praises of the Tour, he needles his upstart competitor.
As McIlroy himself said after his victory on Sunday: “It has been a tumultuous time for the world of men’s professional golf. I was right in the middle of that. … I guess every chance I get, I try to defend what I think is the best place in the world to play elite professional golf. It is in some ways fitting that I have been able to do this today to close out a year that has been very, very difficult and different.
In some appropriate manners? McIlroy was the perfect champion at the moment.
Ask the father of the guy he beat.