On Thursday, 30 of the best golfers in the world will take on East Lake in hopes of not only winning the Tour Championship, but possibly taking home a $10 million bonus with a FedEx Cup win.
Rory McIlroy, the No. 4 ranked player in the world, will not be one of them.
McIlroy joined a list of names that included Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter as notables that didn't qualify for the Tour Championship, and while those four names might be shocking, it's Rory that was dubbed the second coming of Tiger Woods and had, as best we can put it, a horrible, horrible season.
After switching clubs and balls to start the season, McIlroy got off to a slow start and it didn't really pick up, with the 24-year-old failing to win at all in 2013 and carding just five top-10 finishes in 16 PGA Tour starts.
After his struggles at the BMW Championship last week, the two-time major winner was asked about his year and answered as candidly as you'd expect from a guy with all the golf expectations in the world on his shoulders.
"If someone had asked me at the start of the year, would you be more surprised at not winning a major or not getting to the Tour Championship, of course I would have said the latter," Rory said. "The majors are based on one week, four times a year when a lot of things have to go your way. But over the course of the season, I feel like I should be able to play well enough to get to East Lake. I didn't expect to be in this position."
It is quite a difference from this time last year, when McIlroy was heading into the Tour Championship the hottest player in the world, coming off a PGA Championship win and two FedEx playoff wins in 2012.
This year his game just hasn't been there despite a few glimpses of hope at different points in the season.
My advice for Rory? Take some time off, enjoy life and maybe try to get as far away from golf as possible. The kid is going to eventually be fine, and start playing great golf again, but after a season like this it wouldn't hurt to stick the clubs in the back of your closet for a few weeks and just hope that a short split between McIlroy and golf could do wonders for him when the 2014 season gets going.