The 24-year-old spoke after about what a significant achievement this was in his career.
Dominant Hideki Matsuyama made history on Sunday when he became the first player from Asia to win a World Golf Championships.
Matsuyama is already being tipped to go on to add major titles to his CV and speaking afterwards he told reporters that he is hoping to be more competitive in golf's flagship events next season.
Matsuyama played the final round with last year's HSBC Champions victor, Russell Knox. But McIlroy needed two late birdies to salvage 37 on the back nine, and his 70 left him eight shots behind. He's an extremely aggressive iron player, and when he's on, he's as good as anyone. I know I'm going to have to make some birdies.
The shot of the day came from Matt Kuchar, minus the reward. He made 29 birdies on the week and did not make a single bogey in his final 45 holes.
He really didn't need any of them.
Once he finished his college degree in Japan, he won four times as a rookie and finished the year at No. 23 in the world, one spot behind American rookie Jordan Spieth.
Matsuyama hit his second shot in the water on the par-5 18th hole and still finished with a par to close with a 6-under 66 for a seven-shot victory over British Open champion Henrik Stenson (65) and Daniel Berger (69).
A closing four provided the ideal finish for world number 10 Matsuyama, who once again prospered on Sheshan International Golf Club's par fives. Second-round leader Grayson Murray had 72 to drop two shots behind.
The American will now not play in the Turkish Airlines Open this week amid safety concerns
"It was tough to pull myself back".
"Today was a bummer", said Knox. Matsuyama will never face the scrutiny of Ishikawa, who won a Japan Golf Tour event as a 15-year-old amateur and for years received the kind of rock-star treatment at home that only Tiger Woods could appreciate.
The world No. 10 won his third PGA tour title, tying the Japanese record held by Shigeki Maruyama.
Matsuyama finished fifth in the Tour Championship to cap off his most successful season on the PGA Tour, which includes his Phoenix Open playoff victory over Fowler at the start of the year. If I have somewhat of a chance going into Dubai, that's great.
The next stop is a major.
"Winning today, I feel has got me closer to being able to compete a lot better in the Major tournaments", Matsuyama said after his round. "And I'm going to do all that I can to prepare well for that".
"Hideki played just unbelievable and it was a pleasure to watch".
Feng, who won in 2014, had stormed into the lead with a seven-under par 64 in a rain-interrupted third round that forced her and several others to wait until early Sunday to finish up. McIlroy said he would skip the Turkish Airlines Open next week, presumably because of security concerns over recent weeks, which makes him a long shot for the Race to Dubai on the European Tour.
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