Full Swing Season 1 Episode 8 Recap: Everything Has Led To This

The PGA Tour season, and Full Swing, draws to a conclusion with the game's figurehead Rory McIlroy front and center

Rory McIlroy sits down in the locker room after winning the FedEx Cup
(Image credit: Netflix)

Rory McIlroy wasn't even supposed to be in the first series of Full Swing but after what transpired in the crazy 2022 golf year, he simply couldn't not be. Stop scrolling now if you want to avoid spoilers!

The final episode, 'It has all come down to this', is mainly split into two halves - the first at the 150th Open and the second at the Tour Championship, with McIlroy featuring prominently in both tournaments. Much of the LIV Golf drama is settled and St Andrews sets the scene as a metaphor for the PGA Tour and traditional pro golf sphere - history, tradition, legacy, champions.

Before that, though, Full Swing viewers are introduced to Rory McIlroy. The child prodigy that went on to win four Majors, we see his famous clip of him chipping golf balls into a washing machine on live TV and him practising his golf swing in the living room to a Nick Faldo instructional VHS.

It's a great reminder that the multi-millionaire modern icon of golf came from humble beginnings in the suburbs of Belfast, Northern Ireland to realising his talent and becoming a global superstar.

McIlroy talks about his upbringing in the game and his relationship to Tiger Woods:

"I was obsessed with golf at that point anyway, but when Tiger came onto the scene it just took it to a new level," he says. "I just remember watching Tiger play golf and it would have been on Sunday nights for us because of the time difference. He still is my hero. To a lot people he is golf. And I feel very fortunate for the relationship that we have but ever since then all I wanted to was try to be like him."

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods shake hands

McIlroy and Woods have grown to become close friends

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fast forward to today and McIlroy is without a Major win in eight years despite becoming the PGA Tour's de facto spokesperson and the biggest name in the sport behind his boyhood hero Woods.

The first half of the episode focusses on the tournament week of the 150th Open. Most of us will remember what happened. McIlroy was left heartbroken after coming up short as Australia's Cameron Smith steamrolled past him on the back nine with putt-after-putt and birdie-after-birdie.

Cameron Smith poses with the Claret Jug after Open Championship victory

Smith's Open Championship win, and awkward press conference, features in the final episode

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cam, at the peak of his powers, was on the verge of joining LIV Golf at that point - and we get to see the LIV questioning that came in his winner's press conference. 

"I just won the British Open, and you're asking about that. I think that's pretty not that good," a clearly annoyed Cameron Smith replied. "I don't know, mate. My team around me worries about all that stuff. I'm here to win golf tournaments," he said back to the follow-up.

Full Swing then transitions this into the PGA Tour's response ahead of it losing one of its very best talents.

We see Rory McIlroy attend a junior clinic before the Tour Championship as East Lake draws the conclusion to the 2021/22 PGA Tour season. East Lake is where the FedEx Cup champion is crowned, and this year's winner is picking up a record $18m.

Rory McIlroy hits a shot in front of large crowds at the Tour Championship

(Image credit: Netflix)

There's a lot going on behind-the-scenes with the PGA Tour, and the ever-growing influential McIlroy, as more changes get announced with elevated events for the 2023 season.

McIlroy lets the cameras in, where we see footage of his torrid start on-course before he comes back and makes it into the final group on Sunday with Scottie Scheffler.

We see him at the table with Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa watching a Xander Schauffele putt on the TV screen, saying if he misses this then he'll be in the final group. It's a very relaxed atmosphere in the clubhouse with golfers watching golf on TV just you'd see in most clubhouses. Really cool.

We also see the massage room, where McIlroy comes out with a hell of a quote, shouting "F*** you Phil!" in reference to LIV Golf defector Phil Mickelson when discussing that Josh Allen is a Phil fan. He jokes that he hopes that line makes it into the episode, and of course it does.

A cool clip is also shown with McIlroy and PGA Tour executive Andy Pazder, where McIlroy explains to him how the announcement of the elevated events has gone down with the PGA Tour players. Some players didn't realise they would be mantadory. "If I'm willing to do this, so should you," McIlroy said. "I could say to these guys, no other athletes in the world get to choose when and where they play. We've all just gotten a little soft."

The Tour Championship final round itself gets a lot of coverage and there's some great footage to show fans just how big a comeback McIlroy's win was, especially after his bogey on the opening hole. The final round is almost like a highlights package and gets across just how tense the last hole was, where McIlroy was one clear of Scheffler in an $18m vs $6.5m shootout.

Once Rory taps in for victory, we see a nice embrace from Justin Thomas as he consoles Scheffler, who is then consoled by his wife Meredith

McIlroy's celebrations are then overlayed with a superb quote:

"I care deeply about our sport. I care about its history, I care about its legacy, I care about the integrity of the game. And there's a lot of players out here that share those same views."

We also get to see PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan raising a toast to the Northern Irishman in the clubhouse, and you get a real sense of just how appreciated McIlroy is and has been during a year like no other for the PGA Tour. 

"When you talk about loyalty. When you talk about commitment. When you talk about leadership, this man exemplifies that. Let's have a toast to the 2022 FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy," Monahan says.

The episode ends with McIlroy choosing a nice glass of red in the clubhouse before he checks his phone and guess what, his boyhood hero and now-close friend Tiger Woods has text him.

"He's always the first. Always," McIlroy says. "Tiger. Like he'll text you before the last putt drops, always the first. He's unreal."

The episode and season build to a crescendo to put the craziest golf season in living memory to bed.

Rory McIlroy with the 2022 FedEx Cup

The final episode of Full Swing culminates with McIlroy's FedEx Cup triumph

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Full Swing Season 1 Episode 8 Recap: Everything Has Led To This

  • Episode length: 47 minutes
  • Synopsis: As the season winds down, Rory McIlroy faces Cam Smith at the Open Championship, while fighting for a change within the PGA Tour.
  • Main cast: Rory McIlroy
  • Tournaments featured: US Open qualifying, US Open
Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV