Rory McIlroy ends nine-month PGA Tour wait to put LIV Golf rivals on notice

April 29, 2024

It was an all-Irish success at the Zurich Classic as Rory McIlroy ended his winning drought alongside Shane Lowry as they sent a warning to their rivals over at LIV Golf

Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans after beating Martin Trainer and Chad Ramey in a dramatic play-off for the title.

It was the first win of the season for Lowry and McIlroy, and for the latter it ended a nine-month wait for success on the PGA Tour. McIlroy was one of favourites to challenge Scottie Scheffler at the Masters earlier this month, but ended up finishing tied-22nd after a disappointing long weekend at the Augusta National.

McIlroy and Lowry managed a birdie on the final hole of the course to finish 25-under-par and force a playoff against Trainer and Ramey, who had finished their final round hours earlier. It took a chipped effort from Lowry and a birdie putt from McIlroy to force an extended session, one that Trainer and Ramey didn’t look prepared for.

Ryder Cup captain for Team Europe Luke Donald congratulated his teammates on social media after watching their success, and it put McIlroy’s rivals on red alert after ending his drought. With three major championships taking place over the next three months, McIlroy may have started winning at the right time as he looks to compete with the top LIV Golf stars – such as Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka and Cam Smith – who qualify for those competitions.

A narrowly-missed putt from Trainer handed McIlroy and Lowry the win on Sunday, with the Irish duo vowing to defend their title next season. It was the 25th career-win on the PGA Tour for McIlroy, but he claims his latest success wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for Lowry.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” McIlroy said on CBS Sports. “We’ve had an awesome week here in New Orleans. The crowds have been absolutely amazing, to get the support we’ve had out there. We’ve had so much fun while doing it and it’s just a bonus to win at the end.

“It couldn’t be better than to do it with this man alongside me.” Lowry then shared his thoughts on the win, expressing more relief than satisfaction. “It’s great. It felt much needed,” Lowry said.

“Coming into the week we felt we could do with a big jump for the FedEx Cup, let’s get 400 points each and that’s what we’ve done. I feel a little bit bad taking them because Rory carried me, but I’m taking them.”

Team Europe captain Donald then fired a sly dig as the runners-up, with Trainer identifying as American until 2022 before switching to French nationality, and Ramey being a proud United States citizen. The beef remains between Europe and the US after the recent Ryder Cup in Rome, reclaiming their title.

“Well I joined that boozy lunch in the early evening back in October that led to Rory and Shane partnering up this week,” Donald wrote on X. “Always brings a smile to see any of my players win – winning together is even better. Well done lads.”