The final round of The Masters is upon us. Rory McIlroy is in the final group of the day, on a course with many holes that he’s won previously. The British superstar, who has looked solid throughout his Masters campaign, is being looked at by some as a possible winner of the tournament. A win would be the second of a career Grand Slam, a feat only achieved by Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and Rory himself.
Rory McIlroy’s Masters victory was yet another remarkable achievement for one of the world’s most talented, and most popular, golfers, and his first Major win in just his eighth appearance at Augusta National.
The 2021 PGA Championship on Kiawah Island is just around the corner and the 155 players not named by Rory McIlroy must be terrified. After a winless 2020, McIlroy has four top-10 finishes in 2021 and recently returned to action with a win at the Wells Fargo Championship, his 19th career victory. The 32-year-old is now considered by many to be the favourite for this week’s PGA Championship, but his victory at Quail Hollow is unlikely to be the only factor. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the last time this major was played on the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, Rory destroyed the field and won by a record eight strokes and claimed his second major. McIlroy already has four major titles to his name and although he has yet to win the green jacket at the Masters to reach the Grand Slam, he could be joining another very exclusive club if he finds a way to win at Kiawah Island this week.
Rory McIlroy dominated the field at the 2012 PGA Championship on Kiawah Island
. McIlroy was only 23 when the 2012 PGA Championship was played on Kiawah Island in August 2012, but he already had one major championship behind him: He finished third in the world rankings and finished in the top five at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational the week before. Rory got off to a good start with a 5-under 67 on the par-72 Ocean Course, just one stroke behind leader Carl Pettersson. Like most competitors, he struggled on day two when wind gusts reached 20-30 mph during Friday’s round. He shot a 3-over 75 but was just two behind for the final 36 holes. The weather also played an important role in Saturday’s tournament. Most competitors, including McIlroy, could not finish the third round due to thunderstorms. But before play was interrupted, Rory scored a 4-under 32 on the front nine and shared the lead on 6-under with Vijay Singh’s 49 when play was interrupted. Play resumed early Sunday morning and by the end of the third round McIlroy was at 7-under par and leading by three strokes with 18 holes left to play. Several players tried to take the lead in the final round, but after McIlroy made birdies on the second and third holes, the question was not if he would win, but by how much. The answer was eight strokes, a PGA Championship record, as Rory shot a bogey-free 66 and finished 13-under. England’s David Lynn finished second with a score of 5 under. That eight-stroke victory surpassed Jack Nicklaus’ seven-stroke victory at Oak Hill in 1980 and still is.
McIlroy recently got his 19th. Winning on the PGA Tour
. COMPARED TO: Rory McIlroy knows exactly when he last paid for a round of golf and how much it cost him. Prior to the Wells Fargo Championship 2021 tournament a few weeks ago, McIlroy had remained winless in 27 starts, with the last win coming at the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in November 2019. As mentioned, he didn’t win the PGA Tour in 2020, but he did have a much bigger victory in his life when he and his wife Erika had their first child last August, a daughter named Poppy. So you can imagine how special it was for McIlroy to get his first win in 553 days on Mother’s Day. It’s interesting to note that Rory almost didn’t play at Quail Hollow because he injured his neck on the driving range the day before the tournament. But he got some late playing time on Thursday, which allowed him to get extra treatment, and he started his week with a 1-over 72, eight points behind the leader. But he came back and shot a 66 in the second round and a 68 in the third. As a result, he entered the final round in second place, where he shot another round of 68 to win by 3 strokes and finish at 10 under, one stroke ahead of Abraham Unser.
Rory will join the exclusive 20-5 club by winning the 2021 PGA Championship
Rory McIlroy makes a move during the final round of the 2021 Wells Fargo PGA Tour Championship | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images COMPARED TO: Rory McIlroy’s uncle was brutally murdered for sectarian reasons, something the four-time world champion has long tried to avoid As mentioned, the win at Quail Hollow, McIlroy’s third on this course, was Rory’s 19th. Victory on the PGA Tour, which creates an interesting scenario for this week’s PGA Championship. For the past seven years, McIlroy has tried to join the exclusive club of players who have won the Grand Slam in their careers, but has never managed to win the Masters. He finished fifth last November but missed the cut at Augusta last month with rounds of 76 and 74. Although Rory still has to wait 11 months before he can make his next attempt at a Grand Slam, he has the chance to join another exclusive club this week on Kiawah Island. The win would give him 20 PGA Tour victories and five major championships, and would make him only the 13th player to win a major. Golfer in history to achieve such success. As for the other 12 members of the 20-5 club, each of them is in the Hall of Fame… or at least will be. The tiger was supposed to be unveiled in March, but the ceremony has been postponed until 2022. Here is a list of current 20-5 club members:
- Walter Hagen (45 PGA Tour victories, 11 major championships)
- Ben Hogan (64 PGA Tour victories, 9 major championships)
- Phil Mickelson (44 PGA Tour wins, 5 major championships)
- Byron Nelson (52 PGA Tour victories, 5 major championships)
- Jack Nicklaus (73 PGA Tour victories, 18 major championships)
- Arnold Palmer (62 PGA Tour victories, 7 major championships)
- Gary Player (24 PGA Tour victories, 9 major championships)
- Gene Sarazen (38 PGA Tour victories, 7 major championships)
- Sam Sneyd (82 PGA Tour victories, 7 major championships)
- Lee Trevino (29 PGA Tour victories, 6 major championships)
- Tom Watson (39 PGA Tour victories, 8 major championships)
- Tiger Woods (82 PGA Tour victories, 15 major championships)
statistics courtesy of PGATour.com