When big things happen in golf, people have questions. Golf News Net hopes to answer those in a regular feature we call FAQ. Today, we tackle Rory McIlroy’s record-setting PGA Championship win.
How many majors is this for Rory?
2. He won the U.S. Open last year, also by eight shots.
Was Rory’s eight-shot win some kind of record?
You bet it was. He surpassed Jack Nicklaus’ seven-shot win in the 1980 PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. The PGA Championship will conveniently be held there next year.
How many majors did it take for Rory to win two?
17. That’s one less than it took Tiger Woods to capture his second major at the 1999 PGA Championship. For Woods, a dozen of those majors were played as a professional.
How do Rory’s two wins compare to Tiger’s? Jack’s?
Rory won the U.S. Open and the PGA, both by eight shots. Tiger won the 1997 Masters by a dozen shots, while taking the ’99 PGA Championship at Medinah by just a shot. Jack won the 1962 U.S. Open at Oakmont in a playoff over Arnold Palmer and the ’63 Masters by a single shot over Tony Lema.
In terms of age, how does McIlroy compare to the greats of the game?
McIlroy won the PGA Championship at 23 years, 3 months, 8 days. The Ulsterman is the sixth-youngest player in history to get to two majors and third youngest since 1950. Seve Ballesteros and Jack Nicklaus beat McIlroy by months to their second major. Young Tom Morris, Gene Sarazen and Johnny McDermott all won their first two majors at a younger age, too, but before 1923.
McIlroy is the youngest champion since the PGA Championship went to stroke play in 1958 and fourth-youngest champion in history. Gene Sarazen is the youngest PGA champion, at just over 20 years old when he won the match-play format in 1922.
How many players have won majors in consecutive seasons?
Since 1950, now a dozen players have won majors in consecutive seasons. The last player to do it before McIlroy was Padraig Harrington (2007 Open Championship, 2008 Open Championship and PGA Championship) , then Tiger Woods (2007 PGA Championship and 2008 U.S. Open).
Is McIlroy a good major championship closer?
Sure seems that way. McIlroy has converted two of three 54-hole leads in major championships – all coming in the last two seasons. He won the 2011 U.S. Open and the 2012 PGA Championship by eight shots. He finished T-15 at the 2011 Masters after taking the lead into the final day by four shots.
Which of the four majors is Rory most likely to win more than any other?
It would seem the PGA Championship. He has finished inside the top three in three of four PGA Championship starts. He was T-3 in 2009 and ’10 and the winner this year. He finished T-64 at last year’s PGA, which was a marred finish considering he sprained his wrist while hitting a tree root with his swing.
What streaks did McIlroy’s win end?
Two of note. McIlroy ends a string of 16 different major winners – two shy of the record. Between Larry Nelson’s 1983 U.S. Open win and his ’87 PGA Championship triumph, 18 different players won.
McIlroy is the only player this year to convert a 54-hole lead in a major into victory.
Finally, who handles the longest major championship setups best?
Well, it’s a split between Rory and Tiger. On the five longest major championship setups of all time, Tiger and Rory each have to wins. Woods won the ’08 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines and ’06 PGA at Medinah. Woods would have the advantage had he taken the ’09 PGA at Hazeltine, but he lost to Y.E. Yang.