The final day of the 2014 Open Championship wasn’t the best Rory McIlroy had during the four days at Liverpool, but he did just about enough to claim his third major title, finishing two strokes ahead of Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia, getting one title closer to the career grand slam.
At 25, McIlroy has now won three of the four needed to complete the achievement: The PGA Championships, the US Open and now the Open Championship, held in England for its 2014 version. McIlroy won it wire to wire, leading from the first day, making it a second consecutive major tournament to not have too much of a doubt about the champion. Martin Kaymer won the US Open last month in the same manner. Tiger Woods in 2005 was the last to win the Open wire to wire.
McIlroy finished with a 71 on the final day to put him at 17 under par. Still, his two 66’s from the first two days of the tournament were enough to give himself enough of a cushion as Garcia and Fowler were making their charge towards him. The American hit a 67 on the fourth day, Garcia golfed a 66.
History says McIlroy will get his Grand Slam. The three other players to win three legs of it by the time they were 27 managed to reach that landmark. Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Gary Player. McIlroy is also the third youngest player in history to win three of the four majors, following Woods at 24 and Nicklaus at 23.
I’m immensely proud of myself. To sit here, 25 years of age, and win my third major championship and be three-quarters of the way to a career Grand Slam. I never dreamed of being at this point in my career so quickly. I’ve really found my passion again for golf. 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. I just want to be the best golfer that I can be. And I know if I can do that, then trophies like this are within my capability.
McIlroy does have the PGA Championship coming up, hoping to come up with his third tournament win of the year, which began with his May triumph in the BMW PGA Championship, but he might be even more focused on April, when the next Masters will be held in Augusta.