Chip Shots: His focus was on the process

No Choke In McIlroy




As a golfer, do you know what your choking point is? I’m assuming that you do, but actually, what is a “choking point?” As I see it, it’s the point where what’s on the line or in the path to success can affect the outcome.

It’s amazing how so many people who play golf without having a bet of any kind seem to play so much better. Heck, it’s an easy game, right?

I had a very wealthy friend who played a single-digit handicap. He was certainly a good player, except when some betting was involved. Then, he’d have trouble breaking 85.

Most players never get to know what their choking threshold is, and for Rory McIlroy, that’s still the case. The PGA Tour Championship $15 million pot wasn’t even enough. He banked a cool $10 million for winning the FedExCup back in 2016, before that and the Tour Championship were rolled into one package in the new format.

To put that amount of prize money in perspective, Jack Nicklaus, in his entire playing career, didn’t earn $5 million, and he won six Masters tournaments, five PGA titles, and four U.S. Opens. Of course, it takes a year’s worth of good play to make the field, but that’s not too difficult when you’re as successful and established as McIlroy. He said afterward his focus was on the process, not the prize. Could that be the answer to the problem?

Lighting proved to be the real problem this time around.

A severe storm roared across East Lake during the third round, and an isolated tree took a direct hit by a bolt of lightning. Six spectators were injured after the tree basically exploded. Debris flew everywhere. They were taken to the hospital but fortunately are all OK.

Fierce thunderstorms often seem to come out of nowhere. Hall of Fame golfers Retief Goosen and Lee Trevino were both struck by lightning while on the course.

East Hampton’s Duane Bock who is on the bag for Kevin Kisner must be smiling. Kisner’s paycheck for the Tour Championship was $800,000 with a solid Top 10 performance.

Now that this 2018-19 PGA Tour wraparound season has officially concluded, awards will begin to be handed up. Up for grabs is player of the year, which is voted on by the players. Before the Tour Championship began, it seemed Brooks Koepka was a shoo-in, but now that McIlroy has taken the big FedExCup prize, the picture isn’t as clear. Maybe they can both win it? I think they both deserve the honor this year.