McIlroy knows FedEx Cup defence is over as he eyes 2018
Acknowledging his hopes of retaining the FedEx Cup are all but over, out-of-form former world number one Rory McIlroy is relishing the opportunity to take a break and return recharged for 2018.
McIlroy won the FedEx Cup last year but the Northern Irishman is set to relinquish his crown with a Tour Championship berth virtually out of reach as he continues to struggle at the BMW Championship.
Ranked 51st in the FedEx Cup standings before the tournament got underway in Illinois – with the top 30 players progressing to the season-ending Tour Championship – McIlroy is facing a mountain to climb following Friday's second-round 69, which left him 15 shots behind leader Marc Leishman.
"It's hard because I know that realistically there's not much chance of getting in next week, but I still want to go out there and play well," four-time major winner McIlroy said via Golfchannel.com.
"I'm here, so I might as well try to play well and try to get the most out of myself."
It has been a season to forget for McIlroy, who is yet to register a win or a top-three finish on the PGA Tour.
McIlroy's best performances have come at The Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational and WGC-HSBC Champions, where he tied for fourth.
The 28-year-old – who missed the cut at the Dell Technologies Championship having finished T34 at the Northern Trust – added: "I completely expect myself to play well next year. If I have a really good off-season and prepare and practice on the right things, come out mentally fresh and physically fresh, I feel like '18 will be a really good year for me. And that's sort of where my mind is at."
One player definitely set to feature at the Tour Championship is three-time major winner Jordan Spieth.
Spieth leads the FedEx Cup standings ahead of Justin Thomas, though the American has struggled for consistency at the BMW Championship this week.
After opening with a 65, Spieth fell nine strokes off the pace following his one-over-par 70 at the third and penultimate play-off event.
"When you see the scores that were put up earlier, that's what you're comparing yourself to and I thought the golf course played a little too difficult to really think a good score would be seven or eight-under in the afternoon," Spieth said.
"Those guys really went low yesterday [Thursday] afternoon for today's round to be that solid. Played a lot tougher. Trying to adjust to the firmer greens. Firmer greens but they still weren't that fast. It certainly took a few holes for me to adjust to it and I didn't quite have the stuff."