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By winning the 2014 USPGA Championship at Valhalla, Rory McIlroy became only the third player to claim 4 major golf titles by the age of 25. The only other players to achieve this are the 2 greatest names of the modern era – Jack Nicklaus who won 18 major titles in his career and Tiger Woods who currently stands on 14 major wins.
Rory McIlroy realised his enormous potential by storming to an 8 shot win at Congressional Golf Club, Washington DC in 2011. His performance at Congressional was made all the more impressive because it came just weeks after a disastrous last round at Augusta where he held the third round lead. His next major title followed in 2012 over the challenging Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in South Carolina. Many of golf’s biggest names struggled but Rory McIlroy played superbly in the tough conditions and again triumphed by 8 shots to claim his 2nd major title.
Some tough times followed on and off the golf course but his form returned in 2014 and he headed to the British Open at Hoylake in confident mood having won the flagship PGA Championship at Wentworth just days after the highly publicised split with his girlfriend and tennis star Caroline Wozniacki. Rory established a big lead over the rest of the field over the first 3 rounds with some imperious play, most notably phenomenal driving combining prodigious length and unerring accuracy. Despite final round challenges from Spain’s Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler from the USA, Rory held on to claim his first British Open Title and his 3rd major title.
Rory McIlroy headed to the final major of 2014 in the form of his life having won the World Golf Championship at Firestone in his next start after the Open at Hoylake. The final round at Valhalla will be remembered as one of the great major championship days of the modern era. Despite holding a 1 shot lead going into the final round, Rory McIlroy found himself 3 shots behind after the first 9 holes. The American crowds lifted home players Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler whose superb play looked to be taking the title away from Rory. With a stunning Eagle 3 at the par 5 10th hole Rory closed to within 1 shot of the lead and further birdies at 13 and 17 allowed him the luxury of a 2 shot lead going up the last. Near darkness added further drama as the final 2 groups went up the 18th together and Rory was able to close out victory with 2 putts on the 18th green. 4 majors titles to his name at the age of only 25!
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