McIlroy Knocks Down 3rd Major
Rory McIlroy shot a final round 71 in the British Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Course in Hoylake yesterday to hold off both Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia by two strokes, and claim his first Claret Jug.
When Nicklaus won the PGA Championship in 1963, completing his third leg of the Slam, he was 23. When Tiger won the 2000 U.S. Open for his third leg, he was 24, and he became the youngest winner of all four majors later that summer, when he claimed his first British Open. Nicklaus didn’t complete his slam until he was 26. McIlroy’s first chance will come in April at Augusta, when he will still be 25. “I don’t see any reason why he’s not going to win there,” said McIlroy’s playing partner yesterday, Fowler, who is also only 25. “Definitely fits his game. . . . It’s just a matter of time.”
Let’s not forget how short a list it is that has completed the Grand Slam in golf – it’s only 5 names long. Nicklaus, Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen, and it certainly isn’t a given McIlroy will ever join that group. But if his performance over the last 4 days is an indication (he held the lead at the end of each day) he’s definitely back on track after straying the last two years.
McIlroy won his first major, the U.S. Open at Congressional in 2011, but then didn’t post another top-10 finish at a major until he won the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah. His 2013 was a forgetful season, as he missed the cut at both the Irish and British Opens. “The ability was still there,” McIlroy said. “That wasn’t it. It was just trying to find a way to make it come out again.”
After a much publicized break-up with his fiance’ tennis player Caroline Wozniacki two months ago, McIlroy went out that week and won the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour. Coincidence? Maybe, but whatever the reason he seems to have found his game again…and his reason for playing. “I’ve really found my passion again for golf,” McIlroy said. “Not that it ever dwindled, but it’s what I think about when I get up in the morning. It’s what I think about when I go to bed.”