Rory McIlroy put on a ball-striking clinic on the front nine on Sunday at the Tour Championship. But it was his worst shot that may prove to be the most pivotal—and not in a bad way.
After piping yet another tee shot on East Lake's difficult par-4 eighth, the four-time major champ tugged his approach shot. But as his golf ball bounded off the green and down toward the water, it hit the edge of a drain and came to a sudden stop. Check it out:
Luck of the Irish, indeed. And McIlroy fully took advantage moments later with a solid pitch shot (Not easy considering what happened to Justin Rose earlier in the day) and a made five-footer for par to maintain his lead over Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele in the PGA Tour's season finale.
Make no mistake, the winner of a PGA Tour event during any given week has a few breaks go his way. But those breaks have never been so potentially profitable. Sunday's first-place Tour Championship/FedEx Cup prize is a record $15 million, while second place takes home $5 million.
In other words, a drain may wind up saving Rory McIlroy $10 million-plus. Probably not how Donald Ross drew it up, but Rory will take it.
UPDATE: McIlroy wound up winning by four shots, but. . . you never know how things could have changed had his ball gone in the water on No. 8. In any event, he's leaving Atlanta $15 million richer. And that drain certainly didn't hurt.