ATLANTA — Reflecting on the best year of his six-season PGA Tour career, William McGirt said he’ll remember the 2015-16 season as one with “lots of firsts.”
“All in all, heck of a year,” McGirt told The Robesonian. “First win, first Tour Championship (appearance), some new majors. That said, (there’s) plenty of room for improvement with certain aspects of my game.”
The 37-year-old Fairmont native capped his season on Sunday with a tie for 17th in his Tour Championship debut, bouncing back from an opening round 7-over 77 to post 69, 66 and a final-round 68. Rory McIlroy won the event in a playoff, earning the FedEx Cup title.
“Too bad I got off to a rough start Thursday,” McGirt said. “I really played well the past three days. (I) just couldn’t overcome the 77.”
The finish earned McGirt a payout of $371,600, including $166,600 for the event and a playoff bonus of $205,000 for finishing 24th in the final FedEx Cup standings. He earned a career-best $3.6 million this season, finishing 17th on the money list.
The 40th-ranked player in the world had 13 top-25 finishes this season, including seven top 10s. His two best performances came in June at The Memorial — where he claimed his first PGA Tour title — and late July’s PGA Championship, where he made the cut at a major for the first time en route to earning a top-10 finish.
McGirt made his U.S. Open debut at Oakmont in June and his British Open debut at Royal Troon in July. In April, he’ll compete at Augusta National for the first time as a participant in The Masters. His consistency throughout the season also had him flirting with making the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
The success has McGirt reassessing his goals ahead of the 2016-17 season.
“(I want to) get back to the Tour Championship and keep building on success from this year,” he said. “I’ll put a lot of thought into (my goals) the next few weeks.”
McGirt said he plans on playing two events this fall, returning to action on Nov. 3 in the opening round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. His final event of 2016 will be the RSM Classic in St. Simons Island, Ga. which begins on Nov. 17.
But for now, the goals can wait. His current focus is on spending some much-needed time with his family.
“I’m ready for some time off,” he said. “Looking forward to the carpool line at the kids’ schools and just being ‘daddy’ for a few weeks.”
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.