Rory McIlroy won’t have much time to prepare for the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club this week.
The defending champion arrived at the course in Atlanta on Thursday morning, just days after he and his wife, Erica, had their first daughter.
The pair announced on Thursday on social media that Poppy Kennedy McIlroy was born on Monday.
Poppy Kennedy McIlroy, born August 31st, 12:15pm. She is the absolute love of our lives. Mother and baby are doing great. Massive thank you to all the staff at Jupiter Medical Center and Dr Sasha Melendy for their amazing care ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/IwFeGf8rod— Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory) September 3, 2020
“It’s amazing,” McIlroy said Thursday, via Golfweek. “You see other people having kids and babies, and you’ll say congratulations and you’re happy for them, but you don’t really know how it feels.
“Now that I do, anyone that I know that has a child, there’s so much more admiration for the mother, what they go through, and it’s just amazing. You feel like you get to know your baby while she’s still in her mother’s belly, but to go from not having met this person to having unconditional love for them from one minute to the next, there’s nothing like it in the world.
“It’s probably the best part of being a human being, and I’m glad that I got to experience it.”
‘It’s been hard to think about golf’
McIlroy has six top-10 finishes under his belt this season and won the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in November, which marked his 18th career win on Tour. All of those top-10 finishes, however, came before the COVID-19 hiatus.
He’s fresh off a T12 finish at the BMW Championship last week and is currently No. 12 in the FedExCup standings, meaning he’ll start a full seven shots back from leader Dustin Johnson.
That is a lot of ground to make up. He did, though, rally from five shots down at last year’s Tour Championship — which made him just the second player ever to win the FedExCup multiple times in his career.
While his mind has been understandably elsewhere, McIlroy is still optimistic he can get off to a good start on Friday.
“It’s been hard to think about golf the last few days just because I’ve been so focused on making sure that everything is OK at home,” he said, via Golfweek. “I mean, 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. But yeah, 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.”
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