Rory McIlroy ‘less invested’ in off-course affairs as he targets FedExCup glory at Tour Championship

Rory McIlroy is looking to win the FedExCup for the second straight season and a record fourth time in his career. The Ulsterman will start the Tour Championship three times behind FedExCup leader Scottie Scheffler – watch live on Sky Sports Golf from 5pm on Thursday

18:17, United Kingdom, Wednesday 23 August 2023

Rory McIlroy says he is now less “emotionally involved” in off-court affairs as he looks to win the lucrative FedExCup Playoffs for the fourth time and second in as many seasons.

Defending champion McIlroy will start the series-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta three strokes behind Scottie Scheffler in the battle for the $18 million top prize.

The Ulsterman’s 2022 victory came amid his role as the PGA Tour’s unofficial representative in its battle with LIV Golf – a rivalry that has softened with the US circuit and the DP World Tour merging with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund .

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan says there’s no reason why the merger between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf won’t be completed before the end of the year.

Ahead of the Tour Championship, which is live Sky Sports Golf from 5 p.m. Thursday, McIlroy said: “(I’m) maybe less emotionally attached. Last year it was about how can we make the PGA Tour product better, and I think I was really invested in that.

“When it comes to governance and investment and all of that, it’s not that I’m not interested, but I’m not as excited about improving the product and how we can make this a more competitive landscape to play professional golf and how we can make everybody the best players to play together.

“I’m on the board and I have to be involved and whenever something comes to the table, I’m going to vote yes or no on it.

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“I think last year, I was probably inspired by everything that was going on in the golf world.

“I felt like we were maybe in a little bit of a crazier situation. I sat here at this table last year on this day talking about set events and getting all the best players to play together and all that.

“I remember this time last year I was on a call to the board at 7.30 on a Tuesday morning trying to get all these things ratified and going through the board.

McIlroy is looking to win the FedExCup for the fourth time and second in as many seasons

“I was able to focus a little more on just golf and my game and even stay home for two days between Chicago and here to spend some time with the girls. It was really nice.”

Scheffler: Tour Championship format ‘a little weird’

As the player with the most FedExCup points from the regular season, Scheffler begins the Tour Championship at 10 under par.

Viktor Hovland will start in second place at eight under, having moved up the leaderboard by winning the BMW Championship on Sunday following a string of seven birdies on his back nine.

Rory McIlroy and Scheffler have opposing views on the Tour Championship in Atlanta

On the format of the Tour Championship, Scheffler said: “This tournament is a little bit weird because there are early touches and I wouldn’t say it’s the best format to determine the best golfer of the year.

“Jon Rahm has played some of the best golf of anyone this year and he comes into this tournament tied for fourth and is four shots back.

“In theory, he could have won 20 times this year and only had a two-shot lead.

Victor Hovland won the BMW Championship after seven birdies on the back nine

“I feel like I’ve joked enough about being (world) No. 1 which means you don’t get extra strokes and you turn up this week and I’m getting a few extra strokes. It’s a bit strange, but it should be a fun week.”

Watch the Tour Championship live on Sky Sports Golf from 5pm. on Thursday, with coverage continuing through Sunday. Stream the PGA Tour and more for £26 a month for 12 months with NOW.

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