Huge crowds flocked to Crooked Stick Golf Club to watch what promised to be a battle royale between the biggest names in world golf. And they were not to be disappointed. Early on in the round, current and former world number ones swapped and shared the lead regularly, until eventually one talented 23-year-old Northern Irishman grabbed the bull by the horns and pulled away to clinch his second victory within a week and become only the fourth player in history to win back-to-back playoff tournaments.
Whilst others around him, including his flight partner and eventual runner-up Lee Westwood, struggled to find any consistency in the pressure pot atmosphere, McIlroy was relentless and shot 6 birdies to pick up his sixth PGA TOUR victory and retain his position at the top of the world and FedExCup rankings. The two-time Major winner will now undoubtedly be the man to beat when he makes his debut at the TOUR Championships in Atlanta next week.
Phil Mickelson (USA, -18) flew the flag for the home crowd, shooting five birdies in a round of -2, but was simply unable to match the winner’s consistency. While he and fellow runner-up Lee Westwood (-18) both dropped shots just as they looked to be matching McIlroy all the way, the Northern Irishman hit the front with four holes remaining and simply refused to leave the door even slightly open for the chasing pack, his only bogey coming on the 18th when victory was all but certain. England’s Westwood will leave Indianapolis disappointed he was unable to make birdies late on in his round, but pleased to be hitting form in time for the Ryder Cup later this month.
For overnight leader Vijay Singh, this was one round too many. The 49-year-old Fijian struggled to replicate the dazzling form he had shown over the first three days, eventually slipping back into eighth place on -15. Tiger Woods hit three birdies on the last seven holes to climb to fourth place – three shots behind McIlroy – and confirm a return to form that bodes well for the US Ryder Cup team. 2010 BMW Championship winner Dustin Johnson (USA, -16) looked to be playing himself into contention with a birdie on the eighth followed by an eagle on the ninth hole. However, Johnson was another to fade over the back nine, and a bogey on the final hole left him in a tie for sixth place with Australian Adam Scott (-16).
Defending FedExCup champion Bill Haas (-3) endured a disappointing final day in Indianapolis, carding a 6 over par round of 78 that saw him drop 27 places into a tie for 45th. His misery will have been confounded by the news that he also slipped to 32nd in the FedExCup rankings, meaning he will not tee off at the TOUR Championship. Remarkably, the defending champion has never qualified for the season finale the following year. When the final thirty players tee off in Atlanta, the top five will do so knowing that a win would mean overall victory in the FedExCup. Those five players are: Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker.