McIlroy hits FedEx Cup $15 million jackpot

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates with the FedExCup trophy on August 25, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 26 August 2019

McIlroy hits FedEx Cup $15 million jackpot

  • It will boost Mcllroy to No. 2 in the world behind Koepka

ATLANTA, GEORGIA: The crowd rushing to circle the 18th green. The steady chants. It all sounded so familiar to Rory McIlroy at East Lake, with one big difference.

On Sunday, it was all for him.

One year after he was an overlooked bystander as Tiger Woods celebrated the missing piece of his comeback by winning the Tour Championship, McIlroy surged past Brooks Koepka and delivered a clutch par putt when he needed it to win the FedEx Cup and the $15 million prize, the biggest payout in golf history.

“It’s amazing how different things can be in a year,” McIlroy said.

With two final birdies, McIlroy closed with a 4-under 66 to end a marathon day at the storm-delayed Tour Championship and finished four shots ahead of Xander Schauffele. He joined Woods as the only players to win the FedEx Cup twice since it began in 2007.

He smiled at hearing the chants, “Rory! Rory! Rory!” from a gallery that came under the ropes on the 18th hole to watch the finish.

“I must say, I didn’t enjoy that walk last year like everyone else did,” McIlroy said. “I never took the fight to Tiger.”

McIlroy had more than the $15 million prize on his mind.

He wanted to win this outright and was keeping score to the very end. The format was changed this year to give top players a head start based on par depending on their standing in the FedEx Cup. Justin Thomas was the No. 1 seed and started at 10-under par before a shot was hit. McIlroy was the No. 5 seed and started at 5 under.

He finished at 18 under in the FedEx Cup finale. His actual score was 13-under 267, better than anyone else in the 30-man field.

It will boost him to No. 2 in the world behind Koepka.

There also was a small matter of payback. McIlroy had a one-shot lead over Koepka in a World Golf Championships event last month in Tennessee but made only one birdie in the final round as Koepka blew past him to win.

They were in the final group Sunday at East Lake, and McIlroy got the best of the No. 1 player.

The final round turned on the seventh hole with a three-shot swing — McIlroy made a 25-foot birdie, while Koepka lost his tee shot in the trees and made double bogey. There were consecutive two-shot swings on the back nine, and then it was a matter of holding off Schauffele.

McIlroy was four shots ahead until back-to-back bogeys, and he was on the verge of watching his lead shrink to one when he holed an 8-foot par putt on the 16th. Schauffele had to settle for pars, and McIlroy finished with a flourish.

He was the only player to break par all four days.

Schauffele closed with a 70 to finish alone in second, which paid out $5 million.

Thomas lost his way Sunday morning in the conclusion of the third round when he took triple bogey on the 16th hole to fall four behind. He finished with two birdies and a 68 and tied for third with Koepka, who ended another big year with a pedestrian finish of 72.

They each earned $3.5 million.

Paul Casey shot 72 to finish fifth and earned $2.5 million.

What looked to be a shootout turned into a runaway for McIlroy.

The marathon final day — 31 holes for McIlroy and contenders — began with big promise for a wild chase for the $15 million prize. Four players took turns atop the leaderboard in the first 35 minutes of golf Sunday morning, which included Schauffele’s first hole-in-one of his career with a 5-iron on the 240-yard ninth hole.

The third round had been suspended Saturday after lightning struck a tree and injured six spectators huddled nearby. Police said they were treated and released from medical attention later that night.

Koepka birdied the 18th for a one-shot lead over McIlroy and Schauffele. It was tight for the first hour of the final round, and then it turned quickly.

Koepka was still up by one shot when he yanked his tee shot into the trees left of No. 7 and never found it. He made double bogey, and it became a three-shot swing when McIlroy made a 25-foot birdie putt.


‘Water bottle’ weights lift Abu Dhabi athletes to world record

Updated 03 June 2020

‘Water bottle’ weights lift Abu Dhabi athletes to world record

  • Researchers, students claim Guinness World Record with novel training approach

DUBAI: Using water bottles and school bags full of books as weights helped two Abu Dhabi athletes clinch a Guinness World Record (GWR) in a gruelling physical challenge. 

Eva Clarke and Brandon Chin Loy competed as part of a mixed team to complete 12,502 chest to ground burpees in a 24-hour period, more than double the minimum requirement.

The group, including students from an Abu Dhabi university, attempted the record on May 3 and were told they had succeeded on May 27, the same day some members of the team graduated. 

Clarke, a fitness trainer and mother of three who holds a string of Guinness World Records, told Arab News on Monday that taking part in the latest attempt was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“We started training for this relay event before the lockdown and when the pandemic happened, we thought we had to make the event unique, so we continued to train on Zoom,” she said.

Clarke, who led the fitness classes, held up to 50 workout sessions during the 12-week lockdown, sometimes starting as early as 4:30 a.m.

“Since I had to continue training without access to weights, I made my own by carrying six-packs of water bottles and encouraged the group to do that as well. I am going to miss the online training,” she added.

Clarke’s previous 12 records included most pullups in one hour (female), 12 hours, and 24 hours, equivalent. She also holds titles for the most knuckle pushups in one minute (female), one hour, and 24 hours equivalent, as well as most burpees in 24 hours (female), and 12 hours, most chest to ground pushup burpees in 24 hours (female), and one minute. 

Clarke also completed the fastest marathon carrying a 40 lb. backpack (female) in the 2015 London Marathon.

The burpee, or squat thrust, is a full-body exercise used in strength training and aerobics. The movement is performed in four steps, known as the “four-count burpee.”

The team was joined by two witnesses during their record attempt through a live conference call. 

“For us, the pandemic is no time to turn into a couch potato. Instead, the team challenged each other to double down on their efforts, even if our gym sessions are on hold and we are separated from our teammates,” said Daniel Gill, assistant director of wellness at a UAE university, in a statement by GWR on Sunday.

Brandon Chin Loy, a computer engineering senior at an Abu Dhabi university who broke his first world record, told Arab News on Monday that he set the event as a goal for himself. 

“I trained under Eva, and it was crazy training which used to start at 4:30 a.m.,” he said.

The team trained six times a week and completed 500 burpees an hour along with other cardio exercises, he said.

“We had to get creative with weights, so I packed books in a bag and carried that,” said Chin Loy.

Team member Ivan Camponogara, a researcher in movement science, said: “Coming face to face with physical challenges never seems to deter me. I take on each adversity with a determined mindset and a will to succeed.” 

Shaddy Gaad, senior marketing manager at GWR’s MENA office, said: “They adapted quickly to our newly launched Remote Adjudication service, where we received their application, adjudicated it online, and presented them with the certificate in a chain video.”

Tereza Petrovicova, who celebrated her university graduation and a Guinness World Record on the same day, said: “This cannot be a better day for us. We thank Guinness World Records for accepting remote adjudication. This online feature creates two measures of accountability, and we did not want to be left behind the eight ball.”

Anna Erdi, who also graduated with a degree in psychology, said: “Mind and body are linked together. All it takes is just one decision to change your attitude 180 degrees. Once that decision is taken, normal will be different. It will not be the same normal, but it can be a better normal.”

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