ATLANTA (AP) — Rory McIlroy found his ball submerged in deep rough, next to a fence that separates the course from the driving range at East Lake. He jumped up and down, trying to see over a holly bush that obscured his view of the ninth green.

This wasn’t a familiar position for the world’s best golfer. It summed up a frustrating finish to the PGA Tour season.

Having won the last two major championships and poised for a big-money triumph at the Tour Championship, McIlroy faded from contention with a brutal six-hole stretch Sunday, leaving him three shots behind winner Billy Horschel in the finale of the FedEx Cup playoff.

Horschel celebrated the most prestigious victory of his career by doing the “Gator Chomp,” while McIlroy was looking forward to a much-needed break before the Ryder Cup.

The Ryder Cup begins in less than two weeks at Gleneagles. McIlroy is the star of the European team.

Horschel avoided any big mistakes, his lone bogey coming at the 10th. He closed with a 2-under 68 for an 11-under 269 total, claiming golf ’s richest payoff with an unprecedented run through the playoffs.

He was No. 69 when the postseason began a month ago. No one had ever claimed the FedEx Cup starting lower than 19th, but Horschel was a runnerup in Boston, and won at Denver and Atlanta. A guy who had $4.5 million in career earnings coming into the year collected $11.4 million in one day — most of it the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus.

Just not in time to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team, which was announced two weeks ago. The Americans will have to get by without the hottest player in the game.

“I still don’t feel like I deserve to be on the team,” said Horschel, who shot in the 60s his last dozen rounds. “I haven’t played good enough this year.