McIlroy romps to PGA Championship title|
Kiawah Island, SC (Sports Network) - Rory McIlroy cruised to his second major
title on Sunday when he won the PGA Championship in historic fashion at The
Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.
McIlroy shot a 6-under 66 and won by eight strokes to establish a new
tournament record for largest margin of victory. He eclipsed the great Jack
Nicklaus, who won the PGA by seven shots in 1980.
"It's a nice record to have. I don't care if I win by one, or by eight," said
McIlroy. "It's a nice achievement."
McIlroy finished at 13-under 275.
The victory propelled McIlroy back to No. 1 in the world rankings.
David Lynn, an unheralded Englishman, shot a 68 on Sunday and finished second
Last year's winner Keegan Bradley (68), Justin Rose (66), Ian Poulter (69) and
Carl Pettersson (72) tied for third at 4-under 284.
Tiger Woods didn't get anything going on Sunday. He shot an even-par 72 in the
final round and tied for 11th at minus-2. Woods, who shared the second-round
lead, failed to break par in all eight weekend rounds at this year's majors.
Woods was done in by poor play in Saturday's third round, which was stopped
due to thunderstorms. He made three bogeys before the horn blew, then never
got close after play resumed Sunday morning.
In a rare candid moment, Woods explained that he had the wrong mindset
"I was trying to enjoy it, enjoy the process of it," said Woods, who also
shared the 36-hole lead at the U.S. Open, but faltered in the final two
rounds. "But that's not how I play. I play full systems go, all out, intense,
and that's how I won 14 of these things."
Woods does have 14 major titles, but none since the 2008 U.S. Open.
He won his second major at this event in 1999 at Medinah. Woods was 23 years
and about seven months.
McIlroy just collected his second major trophy at 23 years, four months, which
is the sixth-youngest in history.
"He went on that incredible run," said McIlroy. "I'd love to sit up here and
tell you I'm going to do the same thing. Hopefully, there's a few more of
these [trophies] in my closet when my career finishes."
He captured the 2011 U.S. Open after a heartbreaking loss at the Masters
earlier that year when he imploded on the back nine.
"I learned a lot at the Masters," admitted McIlroy. "I learned so much about
myself that day. It was a huge turning point in my career. You can see from
Congressional last year and today here that I learned from that."
His victory at Congressional last year also came by eight shots. McIlroy
matched that feat on Sunday and etched his name on The Wanamaker Trophy.
"I'd like to win like this all the time," joked McIlroy.
After he finished his third round Sunday and took a 3-shot lead into the final
round, McIlroy was almost caught before he was introduced on the first tee.
McIlroy had to contend with Poulter's spectacular run to start the round.
After Poulter drained a 15-foot birdie putt for his fifth straight birdie to
open the round, he was just one back.
McIlroy poured in a 6-foot birdie putt at two, then followed with a 10-foot
birdie putt at three and was three clear. Poulter chipped away at the lead
with a 2-putt birdie at No. 7, but bogeyed the eighth, and when McIlroy
birdied the par-5 seventh, he was four ahead.
Poulter made another run after the turn thanks to a pair of 7-foot birdie
putts at 11 and 12. He was two back, but the wheels fell off for the
Poulter bogeyed three in a row from the 13th and fell five back. McIlroy
increased his cushion with a birdie at 12 and was six shots clear of Poulter
When no one provided any great chase, McIlroy cruised some. He saved a few
decent pars, then blasted out of the sand to six feet with his third at the
par-5 16th. He converted the birdie effort and was seven in front.
McIlroy was now seven in front and brought the PGA Championship record book
into the equation. Nicklaus owned the tournament record for largest margin of
victory when he won by seven in 1980.
His chances at equaling the record appeared to take a hit when he missed the
17th green left. McIlroy chipped seven feet short, and, not surprisingly,
rolled it right in the heart of the cup.
At the last, McIlroy hammered a drive down the fairway. He hit a 9-iron 18
feet short of the flagstick, then took the walk up to the green amidst chants
of "Rory, Rory."
He delighted the crowd once more.
McIlroy sank the birdie putt to put an exclamation point on the victory and
establish the new record for margin of victory.
He is now halfway to the career Grand Slam and to be in the winner's circle
was almost comical after his tee ball at three Saturday morning.
The ball got stuck in a tree and McIlroy and his search party couldn't find
it. A television producer informed McIlroy it was in the tree. He took a drop,
wedged his third to six feet and saved par.
It may have been more comical that McIlroy was in this spot when you consider
the middle part of his year.
After a blistering start to the year with a win at The Honda Classic, McIlroy
missed the cut at The Players Championship and BMW PGA Championship. Those are
the flagship events on both the PGA and European Tours, then he missed the
weekend in his title defense at the U.S. Open.
There was talk that he was too into his celebrity. (McIlroy dates tennis great
McIlroy admitted he might have gotten lax in his practice habits, but he said
before this PGA that he found something last week at the WGC-Bridgestone
Invitational, where he tied for fifth.
"I was a little frustrated with how I was playing earlier this year," said
McIlroy. "I did want to go out there and prove a few people wrong. It took me
all of four weeks to get out of my mini-slump."
Blake Adams (67), Jamie Donaldson (70), Peter Hanson (71) and Steve Stricker
(71) shared seventh at 3-under par.
NOTES: McIlroy pocketed $1.445 million for the victory...It was his fourth PGA
Tour victory and fourth European Tour title...Phil Mickelson tied for 36th at
3-over par, but secured the eighth and final automatic spot on the U.S. Ryder
Cup team...The top eight remained the same from before the tournament...Now
former world No. 1 Luke Donald fired a 6-under 66 and moved into a tie for
32nd at plus-2.
08/12 20:10:27 ET