McIlroy’s Change in Mindset Means a Strong End to 2019

by Maura Hutchinson

On Sunday Rory McIlroy was crowned the FedEx Cup Champion after a strong finish at East Lake. After a time of struggle, the 30-year-old has found his rhythm again on the golf course, and a change in mindset seems to have been the catalyst.

Last week McIlroy sat down with reporters ahead of the TOUR Championship to discuss his game and also touched on the immense payday the winner would receive.

“Who knows what the winner wins at the Masters? I don’t know because that’s not what it’s about,” said McIlroy. Adding, “I don’t think the money needs to be front and centre because I don’t think that’s what the fans care about. It’s definitely a thought that came into my head, ‘How can we make ourselves more relatable to the fans?’ – and having $15m front and centre isn’t probably the best way to do it.”

So how does the TaylorMade player feel now that he’s actually won said $15 million?

“I didn’t think about it once,” McIlroy told reporters again on Sunday. “I was thinking about winning this tournament, winning the stroke average, getting back to second in the world. All those things are way more important to me. I realise I’m in a very privileged position that I can say that but at this stage in my career they are way more important to me.”

Sunday marks the golfer’s third win in 2019. His focus on the game and ability to turn off outside distractions seems to be driving McIlroy’s success, as he credits a change in perspective that’s helped him succeed in 2019. One important difference, the four-time major champion says he realised he could no longer approach a Sunday in the same way he approached other tournament rounds.

“You have to be a realist and realise it’s not,” McIlroy explained after his latest win. “You have to prepare for it.”

He has also looked to other players, mainly Brooks Koepka for inspiration.

“Brooks [Koepka] went out there on Sunday in Memphis [at the World Golf Championship in July], shot 65 and just basically dominated the tournament, dominated me. I realised if I want to become the dominant player in the world again, I need to be more like that.”

Being crowned the FedEx Cup champion has boosted McIlroy back up to number two in the World Golf Ranking, just behind Koepka. He is now looking like the only player who might challenge Koepka to be named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year next month.

Check out the gear McIlroy used at East Lake, available now to buy from GolfOnline.

Driver: TaylorMade M5
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M6; TaylorMade M5
Irons: TaylorMade P750 Tour Proto; TaylorMade P730
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind
Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Copper
Ball: TaylorMade TP5