McIlroy headed into Friday having been leapfrogged in the FedEx standings, calculated over four tournaments of which this is the last, by Tiger Woods. Yet the he carded five strokes better than Woods, returning him to the summit of the standings with two rounds to play.
"First and foremost, I just have to try to think of my standing in this tournament and not really think about anything else," McIlroy said. "If it comes down to it on Sunday, where I really need to know what I have to do for the last few holes, then of course I have a decision to make between protecting my lead in the FedEx Cup or trying to win this tournament. I think I know what I am going to choose.
"But we just have to play until we reach that point. At the minute, I'm just concentrating on trying to play as well as I can. I like my position going into the weekend."
In the Tour Championship itself, McIlroy lies tied for seventh at three-under par. Jim Furyk leads the event, four strokes better off. Woods, who started the second round as joint leader, stumbled to a tie for 12th, largely because of a back nine of 38. Justin Rose continued his fine week by signing for 68 to lie second.
But the day's low round arrived from Furyk, who reached the turn in 29 en route to a 64. Furyk's form is timely with the Ryder Cup in mind; the United States captain, Davis Love III, selected the 42-year-old as one of his wildcard selections for next weekend's event against Europe at Medinah.
McIlroy later explained his decision to put his home in Northern Ireland up for sale. The five-bedroom property is available for £2m, with McIlroy insisting he has become accustomed to a nomadic lifestyle.
"I have spent only two weeks a year there so from a financial sense it doesn't make sense to keep it," McIlroy said.
"I have made the decision to sell because I am not there. I am travelling all over the world. When I go back to Northern Ireland I will stay with my mum and dad. Hopefully they still have a room for me."
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image: © Ed McDonald