Rory McIlroy is the undisputed new king of golf after claiming his fourth career and second consecutive major at the PGA Championship.
As Tiger Woods’ star continues to fade, a new era in golf has been well and truly established with world No.1 Rory McIlroy claiming a fourth major and second in succession in a riveting US PGA Championship.
McIlroy earned his second Wanamaker trophy less than a month after winning the British Open and just a week removed from claiming the World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational, with a three-under 68 final round good enough for a one-shot win.
A final-hole par in near darkness left the Northern Irishman at 16-under-par for the tournament, edging five-time major winner Phil Mickelson who fired a 66 to finish at 15-under.
“It’s just been an incredible run of golf and I just couldn’t be more proud of myself or happier with where my game’s at,” McIlroy said.
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson (66) and American Rickie Fowler (68) shared third at 14-under.
Jason Day (72) and Adam Scott (69) were the best-placed Australians at nine-under par, a distant seven shots back in a tie for 15th.
While his previous three major wins were done from way out in front, McIlroy proved his muscle to fight back from three shots down at the turn, cementing him as golf’s new shining light.
“To win it in this fashion and this style, it means a lot, he said.
“It means I know I can do it. I know I can come from behind. I know I can mix it up with the best players in the world down the stretch in a major and come out on top.”
In a brilliant final round where five players held the lead, McIlroy, Mickelson, Stenson and Fowler each had a chance to win over the final three holes but the world No.1 held firm.
McIlroy made the turn at one-over on the day and was quickly three back when Fowler birdied the 10th ahead of him.
But he bulleted a three wood to the par-five green in two to just seven feet and buried the eagle putt.
“The eagle on 10 was massive. It (the approach) came out a little low and left on me but got a nice bit of run on to the green and that was the turning point of the whole tournament for me,” he said.
“The ball flight was probably around 30 feet lower than I intended and the line of the shot was around 15 yards left of where I intended.
“It was lucky, it really was. You need a little bit of luck in major championships to win and that was my lucky break.”
At 25 years, three months and six days old, McIlroy became the fourth-youngest player to win four majors behind Tom Morris Jr, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.
While some are already talking of McIlroy pushing Nicklaus’ record 18 majors and Woods’ 14, he has now set his sights on the career grand slam, missing only a green jacket from his major resume.
“I thought winning The Open Championship a few weeks ago had sort of put me on a higher level in this game but then to win a fourth major here, to be one behind Phil (Mickelson), one behind Seve (Ballesteros), level with Ernie (Els), level with Raymond Floyd, I never thought I’d get this far at 25 years of age, McIlroy said.
“I was happy being a two-time major champion coming into this year, and all of a sudden I’m a four-time major champion and going for the career grand slam at Augusta.
“I think I’ve got to take it one small step at a time. I think the two next realistic goals are the career grand slam, and trying to become the most successful European player ever.
“Nick Faldo has six. Seve has five and hopefully, when I achieve those, I can start to think about other things.”