McIlroy wins second major in style
Golf: This was a grand prize as great as any Olympic medal as Rory McIlroy – who became the latest custodian of the Rodman Wanamaker Trophy – showed all that glistens is not gold.
In capturing the gigantic silver trophy bestowed on the US PGA champion – with an eight-stroke victory – the 23-year-old Northern Irishman put down another marker towards golfing greatness.
Perhaps he’s already there. His march to a second major title, adding the US PGA championship to his US Open victory of last year, was imperious and reinstalled McIlroy as the number one player on the official world rankings.
It also earned him a winner’s cheque for $1.44 million (€1.17 million). On this sandy island off the South Carolinas, ravaged over time by hurricanes and tornadoes, but which yesterday basked in glorious sunshine, McIlroy strode its fairways with assuredness.
"I don't think I have let it sink in yet," he said afterwards. "It was a great round of golf - I am speechless.
"The game-plan was just to play solid. I got off to a bit of a shaky start, but settled into it and I thought my putting today was phenomenal.
"Thanks dad and thanks mum - I'm sure she's watching at home. I had a good feeling at the start, but I never imagined doing this.
"It means an awful lot to look at the names on that trophy and put mine alongside them."
Only the jauntiness of the steps and the mop of curls escaping from under his cap hinted at his youth, for this was a victory march of the age in which he combined all components of his game – driving, approach play and putting – to play with a composure that belied his years.
McIlroy’s win told where his destiny is taking him. He became the youngest winner of the US PGA since Tiger Woods in 1999, and the second youngest multiple major champion since Seve Ballesteros.
The legendary Spaniard was three months younger when claiming his second Major, the US Masters, in 1980. McIlroy is not just following in such footsteps, he is creating his own.
“When Rory lost at the Masters [last year], I said that he could challenge for Jack Nicklaus’s record [of 18 career Majors],” said Pádraig Harrington, a three-time Major champion.
“People could be saying I was right. You’ve got to start when you’re young to get to Tiger’s [Woods] 14 or Jack’s 18, to start doing it in your early 20s because, as good as Tiger was, Major wins don’t come around as easy as people think they do. It’s prolific winning to win one a year, so Rory has another 20, 25 years of golf ahead.”
In a statement last night, the Taoiseach said McIlroy's win was "further confirmation of his enormous golfing talent and a clear signal that he has the potential to become one of the greats of the game".
"Irish golf is going through an amazing period of success and Rory is at the vanguard of that charge," Enda Kenny said.