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2020 Tour Championship: Rory McIlroy sticks the landing

Defending champion celebrates birth of his daughter, who arrives Monday with perfect timing between playoff events, allowing dad to finish one tournament, be home for the delivery and then make it to East Lake Golf Club for this week’s season finale. Good job, kid

Rory McIlroy got a late start on preparations for his title defense this week at the PGA Tour's Tour Championship, but he had a good excuse: fatherhood.

McIlroy and his wife, Erica, announced the Aug. 31 birth of their first child, daughter Poppy Kennedy McIlroy, in Jupiter, Fla. Upon arriving Thursday at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, the site of the season finale, which begins Friday, McIlroy conceded that he was “emotionally drained.”

On Sunday, the day before his daughter’s birth, McIlroy tied for 12th at the BMW Championship. After mother and child returned home Wednesday from the hospital, McIlroy headed north for Atlanta.

He also acknowledged something that any first-time parent quickly realizes with a newborn: “They don’t come with an instruction manual.”

McIlroy, 31, whose 18 victories on the PGA Tour include four major championships, will be seeking his first title since the WGC HSBC Champions on Nov. 3. He will start at 3 under, seven strokes behind Dustin Johnson, under the weighted scoring system at the FedEx Cup finale (tee times).

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