Tour Championship: New dad Rory McIlroy wants win to cap the best week of his life

Rory McIlroy feels more focused heading into the Tour Championship as a new father as he looks to cap “the best week of my life” with another FedExCup crown.

McIlroy’s wife, Erica, gave birth to a baby girl on Monday, and her pregnancy was only made public last weekend when the world No 4 admitted his mind had been elsewhere over his last couple of tournaments, in particular.

With the arrival of Poppy Kennedy McIlroy and both mother and baby in good health, McIlroy made the short trip to Atlanta for the PGA Tour’s season finale, and he believes it will be easier for him to concentrate on golf rather than wait anxiously for a call to say his wife had gone into labour.

“It’s been hard to think about golf just because I’ve been so focused on making sure that everything is OK at home,” said McIlroy, who has yet to post a top-10 finish in eight starts since the coronavirus shutdown.

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“I think it’s been hard because you’re sort of in limbo about when she’s going to arrive, and then in the back of your mind you’re hoping it’s going to go well. You hope that your daughter is safe. You hope that your wife is safe.

“There’s a lot of different things and there’s a lot of things that sort of run through your head, and the fact that all that went well and everyone is good and recovering at home, I feel more comfortable now that I can come out here and play golf and maybe get my mind off it for four or five hours a day, and that’s a nice thing.

“And then obviously I can get a couple of good nights’ sleep before I go home!

“But maybe this is what I needed, just for everything to happen and go well. I haven’t played my best since coming back out since sort of post-Covid, so maybe things just will fall into place. It’s already been the best week of my life, and this would obviously just be the icing on the cake.”

McIlroy revealed the birth was imminent after his third round at last week’s BMW Championship, where he hinted he could pull out of the Tour Championship to stay at home with Erica and Poppy.

“It was just hard to leave, really hard to leave,” he added. “But at the end of the day, life doesn’t stop. Life moves on. And as I said, I know that Erica is surrounded by her family, and my mum and dad are just around the corner, so she’s got all the help she needs, so I felt a little more comfortable being able to go.”

McIlroy will begin this week’s tournament seven shots behind leader Dustin Johnson in the staggered start format, although he did overturn a five-shot deficit as he stormed to his second FedExCup title.

But win or lose this week, you will not find a more content and happy man at East Lake.

“If I can’t be content and happy right now, I don’t think I’ll ever be,” McIlroy said. “We’ve obviously known all this year that Erica was pregnant. We were going to have our first child. Yeah, it’s awesome. It’s the best part of life.

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