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McIlroy: “It’s actually pretty sad to see because he, deep down, I think, is a nice person and all he wants to do is try to be the best golfer he can be. It just seems like every week something else happens and I would say it’s pretty tough to be DeChambeau right now.”

Last Updated: 01/09/21 4:33pm

Rory McIlroy is looking to become the first three-time winner of the FedExCup

Rory McIlroy is looking to become the first three-time winner of the FedExCup

Rory McIlroy has expressed his sympathy for Bryson DeChambeau and believes it’s “sad” to see how the eight-time PGA Tour winner is being treated by fans on the PGA Tour.

The former US Open champion was taunted by fans shouting “Brooksy” – in reference to rival Brooks Koepka – during the Memorial Tournament in June, leading to spectators being escorted from Muirfield Village, while DeChambeau reacted angrily to a cry of “Great job, Brooksy” after losing a play-off at the BMW Championship.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan warned ahead of the Tour Championship that fans risk being ejected from tournaments for ‘comments or gestures that undermine the inclusive and welcoming nature of the game’, as part of an updated code of conduct, while McIlroy can understand why it has been tough for DeChambeau since the return of spectators.

Rory McIlroy won the FedExCup in both 2016 and 2019

Rory McIlroy won the FedExCup in both 2016 and 2019

“I certainly feel some sympathy for him [DeChambeau] because I certainly, I don’t think that you should be ostracized or criticised for being different,” McIlroy said. “I think we have all known from the start that Bryson is different, and he is not going to conform to the way people want him to be.

“He is his own person. He thinks his own thoughts, and everyone has a right to do that. There are certainly things that he has done in the past that have brought some of this stuff on himself. I’m not saying that he’s completely blameless in this. But at the same time, I think he has been getting a pretty rough go of it of late.

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We take a closer look at how the players in action at the Tour Championship qualified for East Lake.

“It’s actually pretty sad to see because he, deep down, I think, is a nice person and all he wants to do is try to be the best golfer he can be. It just seems like every week something else happens and I would say it’s pretty tough to be Bryson DeChambeau right now.

“I don’t know if anyone else on Tour has spoken up for him, but I definitely feel for him a little bit. I agree, I don’t think he’s completely blameless in all this, but at the same time, I think he’s trying to become better and he’s trying to learn from his mistakes. I think everyone should give him a chance to try to do that.”

Rory McIlroy heads into the Tour Championship sitting 16th in the FedExCup standings

Rory McIlroy heads into the Tour Championship sitting 16th in the FedExCup standings

McIlroy starts the week 16th in the FedExCup standings and eight shots behind leader Patrick Cantlay, with the Northern Irishman beginning on two under as he looks to become the first three-time winner of the FedExCup.

World No 1 Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas are among the players to have criticised the staggered scoring system, where Cantlay begins with a two-shot advantage and all 30 players start within 10 strokes of the lead, although McIlroy believes the format has its benefits.

“The first year that it was played in this format I started five back and I ended up winning the tournament by three,” McIlroy said. “The people that have played well have an advantage.

“It’s not an insurmountable advantage like it has been in previous years where guys have turned up to the Tour Championship not having to do anything to win the FedExCup and that’s certainly, you don’t want that to happen either.

Rory McIlroy finished fourth at the BMW Championship on Sunday

Rory McIlroy finished fourth at the BMW Championship on Sunday

“There’s been a few iterations of it and I think this is definitely the best format so far. There’s clarity for the players. There’s clarity for the fans. It’s the playoffs, and I think everyone that’s in the top 30 deserves to be here and then because of that everyone in the top 30 deserves to feel like they have a chance to win it all.

“I can certainly see where Jon [Rahm] is coming from, especially with the year that he’s had. But, look, I went into two playoff runs being No 1 in 2012 and 2014 and didn’t win either of them, so I’ve been on both sides of the coin here. The PGA Tour wanted to create this playoffs format and by nature it is going to be volatile at the end of the year and I think most players have accepted that.”

Who will win the PGA Tour’s FedExCup and its $15million jackpot? Watch the Tour Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 5.30pm on Sky Sports Golf.





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