After Europe’s catastrophic Ryder Cup setback, Rory McIlroy said he almost took the rest of 2021 off.
The 32-year-old Northern Irishman reversed his decision on Sunday, winning the CJ Cup in Las Vegas for his 20th PGA Tour title. It was his first competition since a 19-9 loss to the United States at Whistling Straits in September.
McIlroy’s consolation singles victory over Xander Schauffele at Whistling Straits provided the breakthrough when the US had already clinched victory.
During post-singles interviews, he broke down in tears, saying he “should’ve done more” for his squad. That weekend, he only had one point in four Ryder Cup matches.
McIlroy, on the other hand, stormed back with a victory that vaulted him to seventh in the world rankings and served as a thrilling reminder of his enormous talent, which has helped him win four major championships.
McIlroy finished 25 under par in the final round, securing a one-shot victory and becoming the 39th player in PGA Tour history to win 20 tournaments.
After trailing by nine strokes after 36 holes, he stormed back into contention with a brilliant 62 on Saturday.
The Northern Irishman started Sunday’s round two strokes behind leader Rickie Fowler, but made five birdies and an eagle to win for the second time in 2021. Open champion Collin Morikawa finished second with a bogey-free 62.
McIlroy earned his second title of 2021, following his victory at the Wells Fargo Championship in May, in an otherwise difficult year for the former world number one. To stay in contention, he recorded a three-under 33 on the front nine, and after birdieing the par-four 12th, he eagled the par-five 14th and moved three clear with a 34-foot put from off the front of the green.
Morikawa made birdies on eight of his opening 11 holes and finished with an eagle to close with his lowest PGA Tour round of the year. McIlroy, on the other hand, parred his final four holes to win by one stroke at the Summit Club.