Rory McIlroy

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Rory McIlroy
 MBE
— Golfer —
Rory McIlroy watches drive flight (portrait orientation).jpg
McIlroy in May 2013
Personal information
Full name Rory McIlroy
Nickname Rors, Wee-Mac[1]
Born (1989-05-04) 4 May 1989 (age 25)
Holywood, County Down, Northern Ireland
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)[2]
Weight 73 kg (161 lb; 11.5 st)[2]
Nationality  Northern Ireland
Residence Moneyreagh, Northern Ireland
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida[2]
Career
Turned professional 2007
Current tour(s) European Tour
PGA Tour
Professional wins 15
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 9
European Tour 9
Asian Tour 1
PGA Tour of Australasia 1
Other 1
Best results in major championships
(Wins: 4)
Masters Tournament T8: 2014
U.S. Open Won: 2011
The Open Championship Won: 2014
PGA Championship Won: 2012, 2014
Achievements and awards
PGA Tour
leading money winner
2012
PGA Player of the Year 2012
PGA Tour
Player of the Year
2012
Vardon Trophy 2012
Byron Nelson Award 2012
European Tour
Order of Merit winner
2012
European Tour
Golfer of the Year
2012
Mark H. McCormack Award 2012

Rory McIlroy, MBE (born 4 May 1989) is a Northern Irish professional golfer from Holywood in County Down who is a member of both the European and PGA Tours.[3] He is the current World Number One and a four-time major champion.

McIlroy won his first major at age 22 at the U.S. Open in 2011, setting a record score of 16-under-par on his way to an eight-stroke victory. The following year he won the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island by a record eight strokes for his second major title. Two years later, he won the final two majors in 2014. With his victory at the Open Championship in July, McIlroy became the first European to win three different majors, and joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as one of three to win three majors by the age of 25. Three weeks later, he won his second PGA Championship for his fourth major title.

McIlroy has been cited as the most exciting young prospect in golf and as having the potential to become one of the highest earners in sports in terms of endorsements.[4][5][6]

McIlroy has represented Europe, Great Britain & Ireland, and Ireland as both an amateur and a professional. He had a successful amateur career, topping the World Amateur Golf Ranking for one week as a 17-year-old in 2007. Later that year he turned professional and soon established himself on the European Tour. He had his first win on the European Tour in 2009, and on the PGA Tour in 2010. He represented Europe at the Ryder Cup in 2010 and 2012, both close victories for Europe. In 2011 at the age of 22, he became the youngest player ever to reach 10 million in career earnings on the European Tour. In 2012, he became the youngest player to reach $10 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour.

SportsPro has McIlroy rated as the third-most marketable athlete in the world.[7] In January 2013 he signed a large endorsement deal with Nike, with wide speculation on its terms. As time passed, initial rumours of a 10-year/$250 million accord ratcheted down to a more likely $100 million deal of an undetermined length.[8]

Early life, family, and early golf development[edit]

Born in Holywood, County Down, Northern Ireland, McIlroy is the only child of Rosie (née McDonald) and Gerry McIlroy. He attended St. Patrick's Primary School[9] and then Sullivan Upper School.[10]

Rory and father Gerry McIlroy in May 2013

He was introduced to golf at an exceptionally young age by his father, who coached him.[4] Gerry McIlroy is a fine golfer himself, who once played at a scratch handicap level.[11] Young Rory McIlroy gave early evidence of his golf potential by hitting a 40-yard drive at the age of two.[12] He asked his father virtually every day to take him to the golf course. Family lore relates that he received a new golf club as a present, being shown the correct grip by his father, then taking the club to bed with him that night, with his hands holding the club properly. A video on golf technique produced by champion Nick Faldo was his early favourite.[13]

McIlroy's father held down several jobs to earn additional income for his son's golf development. His mother worked extra shifts at the local 3M plant.[14] McIlroy's first significant international victory came in the World Championship for the 9–10 age group bracket at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami, Florida.[4][15] He learned his early golf at the Holywood Golf Club, which he still retains as his home course.[16] He became the youngest club member at age seven.[17] He started his early training with Michael Bannon, previously the Golf Professional of Holywood Golf Club, who is also his current coach and dedicated mentor.[14]

Amateur career[edit]

At the age of 15, McIlroy was a member of Europe's winning 2004 Junior Ryder Cup team; the event was held in Ohio.[18] In 2005, McIlroy became the youngest-ever winner of both the West of Ireland Championship and the Irish Close Championship.[19] He retained the West of Ireland Championship in 2006 and followed that up with back-to-back wins at the Irish Close Championship.[20] In August 2006, he won the European Amateur at Biella Golf Club, near Milan, Italy, with the score of 274.[21]

In late 2004, at age 15, he signed a letter of intent to play collegiate golf at East Tennessee State University, but after his wins in 2005, he decided to forgo the golf scholarship and continue to play amateur golf in Europe.[22] McIlroy shot an opening round of 3-under-par 68 at the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie, his first major championship entry. He shot +5 overall and was the highest finishing amateur, winning the silver medal.[23]

In July 2005, at age 16, McIlroy shot a new competitive course record score of 61 on the Dunluce links of Royal Portrush Golf Club.[24] In October 2006, McIlroy represented Ireland in the Eisenhower Trophy, which is the Amateur World Team Championship. On 6 February 2007, he became the second man to top the World Amateur Golf Ranking, though he lost the top spot after just one week.[25]

McIlroy was part of the Great Britain & Ireland team at the 2007 Walker Cup, held at the Royal County Down Golf Club.[26] On the first day of the event he was paired with Jonathan Caldwell for morning foursomes, and the match was halved. In the afternoon he faced Billy Horschel in singles, but Horschel won 1 up. On the second day McIlroy and Caldwell lost in morning foursomes by the score of 2 & 1. In the afternoon he faced Horschel in singles again, and this time he won by the score of 1 up. McIlroy's overall record was (1–2–1) in Win-Loss-Tie format. The United States came out victorious by a score of 12½ to 11½.[27]

McIlroy made his first appearance in a European Tour event a few days after turning 16, when he took part in the 2005 British Masters. He made the cut on the European Tour for the first time as a 17-year-old at the 2007 Dubai Desert Classic, where he had to forego prize money of over €7,600 due to his amateur status.[28] At the 2007 Open Championship, held at Carnoustie, McIlroy was awarded The Silver Medal as the leading amateur.

Professional career[edit]

2007[edit]

McIlroy turned professional on 18 September 2007, the day before the Quinn Direct British Masters. He signed with International Sports Management.[29] At the Quinn Direct British Masters, McIlroy shot 290 (+2), which put him in a tie for 42nd place.[30] He finished in 3rd place at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in October. He became the youngest Affiliate Member in the history of The European Tour to earn a tour card.[31] The next week, he secured his card for 2008 by finishing in a tie for 4th place at the Open de Madrid Valle Romano.[32] On the 2007 European Tour season, he earned €277,255 and finished in 95th place on the Order of Merit list. He was the highest ranked associate member.[33]

2008[edit]

Before his season started, Tiger Woods invited McIlroy to play in the 2007 Target World Challenge, held in December. McIlroy declined the invitation, preferring to play the European Open.[34]

McIlroy started his 2008 European Tour season at the UBS Hong Kong Open. He did not make the one-under cut.[35] He entered the top 200 of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time on 27 January 2008.[36] On 7 September 2008, McIlroy took a four-stroke lead into the final round of the Omega European Masters in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland, but finished in a tie for first place with Frenchman Jean-François Lucquin and lost in a play-off.[37]

McIlroy finished the Europen Tour season in November 2008 with six top-10 placements and ranked 79th in the World Golf Ranking.[38]

2009[edit]

After finishing second in the UBS Hong Kong Open in November 2008,[39] McIlroy attained his highest world ranking position of 50.[40] He finished the 2008 calendar year at 39th in the world rankings after finishing joint 3rd in the South African Open.[41] This earned him an invitation to the 2009 Masters Tournament. His first professional win came at age 19 when he won the Dubai Desert Classic on 1 February 2009, this win took him to 16th in the world rankings.[42]

In the 2009 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, McIlroy reached the quarterfinals. In the first round he defeated Louis Oosthuizen 2 & 1, in the second round he beat Hunter Mahan 1-up, and in the third round he beat Tim Clark, 4 & 3. He lost to Geoff Ogilvy, who won the tournament, in the quarterfinals 2 & 1.[43] McIlroy continued to play on the PGA Tour until May. He finished tied for 13th at the Honda Classic, tied for 20th at the WGC-CA Championship and tied for 19th at the Shell Houston Open.[44]

In April 2009, McIlroy made his first Masters Tournament appearance, his first major championship as a professional. He finished the tournament tied for 20th place, two strokes under par for the tournament. Of the players to make the cut, McIlroy achieved the third highest average driving distance, beaten only by Dustin Johnson and Andrés Romero.[45] McIlroy played in two more events on the PGA Tour after the Masters Tournament including his first appearance at The Players Championship, where he missed the cut.[44]

McIlroy then returned to Europe and recorded two top-25 finishes leading up to his first U.S. Open. He finished fifth at the BMW PGA Championship and 12th at the European Open.[46] McIlroy played in his second major as a professional at the 2009 U.S. Open. His final round of 68 (−2) helped him finish in a tie for 10th, his first top-10 finish in a major. The following week, McIlroy finished in 15th place at the BMW International Open.[46] McIlroy played in his first Open Championship as a professional in July and finished T-47.[44] He finished T-3 at the 2009 PGA Championship.[44]

McIlroy finished the 2009 season ranked second on the Race to Dubai, behind Lee Westwood, and in November he entered the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time.[47] McIlroy finished 2009 ranked 9th in the world.[48] In November 2009, McIlroy announced that he would join the American-based PGA Tour for the 2010 season.[49]

McIlroy accepted an invitation from Gary Player to participate in the 2009 Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City, South Africa in December, but withdrew after feeling unwell.[50]

2010[edit]

McIlroy during a practice round of the 2010 PGA Championship.

McIlroy finished 3rd at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. As defending champion at the 2010 Dubai Desert Classic, McIlroy shot a final round of 73 to finish in a tie for fifth place.[51]

In the 2010 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, McIlroy beat Kevin Na 1-up in the first round and then lost on a playoff hole to Oliver Wilson. After the Accenture Match Play Championship, McIlroy took time off from golf due to a sore back.[52] After a two-week break McIlroy returned in the 2010 Honda Classic and finished in a tie for 40th.[44]

On 2 May, McIlroy recorded his first PGA Tour win after shooting 62 in the final round of the Quail Hollow Championship. The round set a new course record, and concluded with six consecutive scores of three.[53] He became the first player since Tiger Woods to win a PGA Tour event prior to his 21st birthday.[54] The win earned him a two-year Tour exemption.[55] On 2 June, McIlroy played in the Memorial Skins Game at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.[56] McIlroy finished tied for 10th place at that same week's Memorial Tournament.[57]

On 15 July 2010, McIlroy confirmed his status as a favourite for the Open title on the Old Course at St Andrews by shooting a 9-under-par 63 on the opening day, the lowest-ever first round score in the 150-year history of the Open Championship, and tying the course record.[58] He missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the 17th, "The Road Hole", which would have given him the outright record.[59] His tied third finish in the 2010 Open Championship sent him to a career high world ranking of seventh.[60][61]

McIlroy missed out on a chance to win the 2010 PGA Championship when he three-putted the 15th green to fall out of a tie for the lead.[32] His final-hole birdie putt narrowly missed the hole to leave him one stroke out of the playoff between Bubba Watson and eventual winner Martin Kaymer. McIlroy finished tied for third.[32] On 4 October 2010, McIlroy won a crucial half-point to help Europe regain the Ryder Cup.[33] Following the Ryder Cup, he announced in November that he would return to play full-time on the European Tour, although he also stated that he would continue to play 11 or 12 tournaments in the US per year. He attributed the decision to having closer friends on the European Tour, his part in the Ryder Cup victory, and wanting to be nearer his girlfriend and family.[62]

McIlroy later stated that he regretted his 2010 decision to give up his PGA Tour card, and his skipping the 2010 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. McIlroy's manager Chubby Chandler's aversion to the PGA Tour was cited by McIlroy as one of the main reasons for their later professional split.[63]

2011[edit]

McIlroy in June 2011
at the Memorial Tournament

Masters[edit]

On 7 April, McIlroy shot a bogey-free 7-under-par 65 in the first round of the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia to take the lead after the first day of the four-day competition.[64] He is the youngest player to date to lead the Masters Tournament at the close of the first day.[65] On Friday, he shot 69 to lead by two strokes over Jason Day with a 10-under-par score. On Saturday, he shot 70 to finish at 12-under-par, four strokes ahead of four other challengers. However, on the fourth and final day, he shot the worst round in history by any professional golfer leading after the third round of the Masters Tournament.[66] McIlroy scored one-over-par 37 on the first nine, and still had the lead, but shot a round of 80, finishing T15 at 4-under for the tournament.[44]

McIlroy failed to make the cut in his title defence at Quail Hollow in early May, was well off the pace at the BMW PGA Championship.[44] He held the 18 hole lead at the Memorial Tournament but finished in 5th place.[44]

2011 U.S. Open win[edit]

McIlroy won the U.S. Open held at Congressional in Bethesda, Maryland on 19 June winning by eight strokes over Jason Day. McIlroy set several records in his victory, most notably, his 72-hole aggregate score of 268 (16-under) was a new U.S. Open record. The 268 aggregate beat the previous record of 272 held by Jack Nicklaus (Baltusrol, 1980), Lee Janzen (Baltusrol, 1993), Tiger Woods (Pebble Beach, 2000), and Jim Furyk (Olympia Fields, 2003).[67] The 16-under in relation to par beat Tiger Woods' 12 under at Pebble Beach Golf Links in 2000.[6][68][69] He became the youngest winner since Bobby Jones in 1923. The victory lifted McIlroy's position in the Official World Golf Ranking to a then career high of number four.[70]

In preparation for the U.S. Open, McIlroy practised at Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey, rather than at Congressional, but did play two practice rounds at Congressional about a week before the start of the Open, after returning from a two-day trip to Haiti as an ambassador for UNICEF.[71][72]

On 17 June during the second round, McIlroy became the first player in the history of the tournament to reach a score of 13-under-par at any point in the tournament. He achieved the feat by making birdie at the 17th hole in the second round. Despite a double bogey on the final hole, his two-day total of 131 (65-66, 11-under-par) set a record as the lowest 36-hole total in U.S. Open history.[73] The score was one better than Ricky Barnes' 132 in 2009. He was also the fastest golfer to reach double digits under par in the U.S. Open, reaching 10 under par in 26 holes.[74]

On 18 June, during the U.S. Open's third round, he became the first player to reach 14-under par at the tournament by making a birdie at the 15th hole, on his way to a 54-hole U.S. Open record of 199.[75] In doing so, he also built an eight-stroke lead going into the final round. A final round of 69 allowed him to claim his first major championship setting the 72-hole record.[76]

Rest of 2011[edit]

McIlroy took a month off from competitive golf.[77] At The Open Championship he struggled in tough weather over a difficult layout at Royal St George's Golf Club, failing to contend with the conditions.[78] He was again a non-factor at the PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club after injuring his wrist on the 3rd hole of the first round after attempting to play a stroke from behind a tree root.[79] McIlroy went on to win the Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters in a playoff against Anthony Kim.[80] In November, he finished tied for 4th at the WGC-HSBC Champions to move to a then career high of number two in the Official World Golf Ranking. In December 2011, he won the UBS Hong Kong Open by two strokes.[81]

2012[edit]

McIlroy warms up at the 2012 U.S. Open in San Francisco

McIlroy's first tournament of the year was at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship during the desert swing of the European Tour at the end of January. The tournament was in the spotlight due to its high profile field including Tiger Woods, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood. McIlroy played alongside Woods and Donald in the marquee group during the first two days. McIlroy shot rounds of 67-72-68 to start round 4 in joint 3rd place behind joint leaders Robert Rock and Tiger Woods. He shot a 3-under-par 69 on Sunday to finish lone second, one stroke behind winner Robert Rock.

At the Omega Dubai Desert Classic McIlroy finished tied 5th on 14-under-par, four strokes behind winner Rafael Cabrera-Bello. He continued to play well at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona where he won matches against George Coetzee, Anders Hanson, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, Bae Sang-moon and Lee Westwood before losing to Hunter Mahan in the final. After 10 holes in the final match, McIlroy was 4 down to Mahan, but cut the deficit to 2 down through 16 holes. The 17th hole was halved with pars, securing the win for Mahan. There was anticipation surrounding the semi-final match between McIlroy and Westwood, as the winner would become the number one golfer in the world if they also won the final. McIlroy's runner-up finish moved him up to number two in the world while also putting him at the top of the Race to Dubai leaderboard.

The following week, McIlroy continued good form and won the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and with it claimed the Number 1 spot in the world rankings.[82] He started the fourth round in first place at 11-under-par after rounds of 66-67-66, ahead of a chasing pack including Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood and Keegan Bradley. McIlroy shot a final round of 69 to claim his third PGA Tour title and finished two strokes ahead of Tiger Woods and Tom Gillis. McIlroy became the second youngest World Number 1 and moved up to fourth place in the FedEx Cup standings.[83]

McIlroy played the following week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami, Florida. His recent good form began to dwindle slightly on Thursday, when he shot a 1-over par 73. However, he shot 69 and 65 the next two days to begin the fourth round in tied 8th place. Going into the back 9 on Sunday, he had a chance of winning his second title of 2012 in as many weeks due to the leaders faltering. However two late bogeys halted his chance and he settled for 3rd place, two strokes behind winner Justin Rose.

McIlroy lost his number one ranking on 18 March to Luke Donald after Donald won the Transitions Championship. McIlroy was one stroke off of the lead going into the weekend at The Masters but struggled in his last two rounds and finished in a tie for 40th. He regained the top spot in the world rankings on 15 April but lost it to Donald again on 29 April. On 6 May, McIlroy was in contention at the Wells Fargo Championship and went to a playoff with Rickie Fowler and D. A. Points. Fowler won the tournament on the first playoff hole with a birdie. The runner-up finish put McIlroy back at the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.[84] After the runner-up finish, McIlroy would later miss the cut in his next three events, and fell again from number one ranking.

PGA Championship[edit]

McIlroy won the 2012 PGA Championship by a record eight strokes, which was done with a birdie on the final hole.[85][86][87] The record stood since Jack Nicklaus won the 1980 PGA Championship by seven strokes.[85][86][87] McIlroy started the final round with a three stroke lead and shot a bogey free 66 to run away from the field. With this win, McIlroy became the youngest multiple major champion since Seve Ballesteros won the 1980 Masters Tournament, and the sixth youngest of all time. The win also helped McIlroy regain the world number one ranking.

Pursuit of the FedEx Cup[edit]

McIlroy finished the regular season third in the FedEx Cup standings. At The Barclays, the first of four playoff events, he finished in a tie for 24th, dropping him to fourth in the standings. McIlroy won the following week at the Deutsche Bank Championship to take the top spot in the standings. McIlroy entered the final round three strokes behind Louis Oosthuizen and defeated him by one stroke.[88] The win also put McIlroy at the top of the PGA Tour money list. McIlroy's success continued the following week when he won the BMW Championship.[89] He was 40-under par for his two playoff tournament victories.[90] With the win, he became the first European to win four PGA Tour events in a single season and the only person other than Tiger Woods to win four events in a season since 2005.

Race to Dubai champion[edit]

Following Europe's victory in the Ryder Cup, McIlroy turned his attention to winning the Race to Dubai. A second place at the BMW Masters was followed by a third place at the Barclays Singapore Open to wrap up the title with two events remaining. To finish off his season, he won the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, making birdie on the last five holes to beat Justin Rose by two strokes.[91] He thus duplicated Luke Donald's 2011 feat of winning both the PGA Tour and European Tour money titles in the same year.

2013[edit]

McIlroy during a practice day for the BMW PGA Championship in 2013 at Wentworth.

McIlroy began 2013 with high aspirations, but mostly did not fare well in early tournaments. Struggling with the equipment change having signed a large endorsement deal with Nike in January, he withdrew from the Honda Classic in February, and finished in two over par and in a tie for 25th place at the 2013 Masters Tournament.[92] McIlroy won the 2013 Emirates Australian Open on the 72nd hole. He beat Australian Adam Scott by one stroke.[93]

2014[edit]

In March, McIlroy lost in a four-man sudden-death playoff at the Honda Classic on the PGA Tour, despite leading the tournament through all four rounds until the back nine on Sunday. He shot a final round 74 (+4) and had a superb second shot to the par-five 18th in regulation play to qualify for the playoff, after missing the eagle putt for the win. He lost on the first extra hole, when Russell Henley was the only one of the four to birdie the hole.

In May in England, McIlroy won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth by one stroke. He carded a six-under-par 66 final round to beat Thomas Bjørn, who started the day seven strokes clear of McIlroy. The win was McIlroy's first on either of the two major tours in 18 months.[94]

Open Championship[edit]

On 20 July, McIlroy won the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool by two strokes over Rickie Fowler and Sergio García to capture the third major championship of his career, having led the field throughout the tournament.[95] McIlroy and Tiger Woods are the only golfers to win both The Silver Medal and The Gold Medal at The Open Championship. His third major title having won the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA Championship, McIlroy became the first European to win three different majors and joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as one of three golfers since the first Masters Tournament in 1934 to win three majors by the age of 25.[96]

Rest of 2014[edit]

After a week off following his Open victory, McIlroy won his first World Golf Championship event at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone and returned to world number one.[97] Starting the final day three shots behind Sergio García, McIlroy shot a 66 to finish on 15 under par and two strokes clear. The following week, he won the PGA Championship at Valhalla for his fourth major, one shot ahead of runner-up Phil Mickelson.[97] After his victory Jack Nicklaus said: "Rory is an unbelievable talent. I think Rory has an opportunity to win 15 or 20 majors or whatever he wants to do if he wants to keep playing. I love his swing, I love his rhythm, I love his moxie. He's got a little swagger there, it’s a little bit cocky but not offensive."[98]

Awards[edit]

In 2012, besides leading the PGA Tour money list, McIlroy won the PGA Player of the Year, PGA Tour Player of the Year, Vardon Trophy, and Byron Nelson Award. In addition to winning the Race to Dubai, he was voted the European Tour Golfer of the Year. He also won the Mark H. McCormack Award for leading the Official World Golf Ranking for the most weeks in the year (28 of 52 weeks). Also in 2012, he won a Laureus World Sports Award in the category Breakthrough of the Year.

Technique, additional mentors and coaches[edit]

McIlroy employs the interlocking grip on full shots. He has worked with various professional golfers since he was young, including Darren Clarke, Nick Faldo,[99] and Graeme McDowell. McDowell frequently plays practice rounds at Tour events with McIlroy.

McIlroy obtained putting assistance and instruction[when?] from Dave Stockton, a retired PGA Tour player who works as a putting instructor. He was first managed by Englishman Andrew "Chubby" Chandler, a former European Tour player who founded International Sports Management (ISM).

McIlroy left ISM in 2011,[100] with McIlroy joining Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management.[101][102] Michael Bannon is expected to work full-time with McIlroy beginning in October 2012.[103]

Controversies[edit]

In May 2009, McIlroy described the Ryder Cup as an "exhibition". McIlroy said: "It's not a huge goal of mine. In the big scheme of things it's not that important an event for me. It's an exhibition at the end of the day."[104] McIlroy went on to say: "Golf is an individual sport. You have individual goals and my goals are to win tournaments for myself."[105] European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie responded by saying that the contest "is not an exhibition and it never will be. It's a very unique, special event."[104] The following year, in 2010, McIlroy said that he regretted his earlier comments and said that the Ryder Cup is "definitely not an exhibition".[106]

On 17 August 2010, McIlroy answered a media question regarding Tiger Woods' potential of getting a captain's pick in the Ryder Cup (despite his poor play at the time) by saying that any member of the European Team would "fancy his chances against him".[107]

In May 2011, McIlroy was criticised for skipping The Players Championship. The skip was controversial because 48 of the top 50 in the world participated in it, the other golfer skipping being Lee Westwood.[108]

On 17 July 2011, following a poor showing over the weekend in the 2011 Open Championship, McIlroy told the media that he was "not a fan of golf tournaments that are predicted so much by the weather," and saying he would rather "wait for a year when the weather is nice" instead of tuning his game to prepare for the Open Championship. He also added that he would "rather play when it's 80 degrees and sunny and not much wind".[109]

On 28 July 2011, after being criticised on air by commentator Jay Townsend about McIlroy's questionable course management skills during the first round of the Irish Open, McIlroy wrote on Twitter telling Townsend to "shut up" and saying Townsend is a "failed golfer" and that "his opinion meant nothing". Later, McIlroy stood by his comments and stated that his comments were made in defence of his caddie J. P. Fitzgerald whom Townsend had been blaming for McIlroy's course management since 2008.[110]

In February 2013, McIlroy was criticised for withdrawing from the 2013 Honda Classic, citing tooth pain. Critics claimed that tooth pain was not the issue, and that McIlroy, the world number one at the time, was having difficulty adjusting to new equipment, and that he should have finished the tournament. Regarding his withdrawal, McIlroy stated, "this is one of my favourite tournaments of the year and I regret having to make the decision to withdraw, but it was one I had to make."[111]

In January 2014, McIlroy was hit with a two-shot penalty for not taking proper and full relief after driving onto a spectator pathway in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, his first event of the season. He was alerted to his mistake by Scottish caddie Dave Renwick after his round and, after signing for a 70 instead of a 68 to reflect the penalty, he told reporters: "There are many stupid rules in golf and this is one of them." The two-shot penalty ultimately cost him dearly, as he lost the tournament by a single shot.[112]

Personal life[edit]

McIlroy was raised Roman Catholic and has self-identified as British,[113][114] Irish[115] and Northern Irish,[115] and carries a British passport,[116] although he usually shows reluctance to be drawn into debate on his nationality.[117][118] In 2012, he expressed an interest in representing Great Britain (as opposed to Ireland) in golf at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games, where golf will become an Olympic event for the first time since 1904. However in January 2013, McIlroy was considering the options of playing for Britain or Ireland or not playing at all, stating; "I just think being from where we're from, we're placed in a very difficult position. I feel Northern Irish and obviously being from Northern Ireland you have a connection to Ireland and a connection to the UK. If I could and there was a Northern Irish team I'd play for Northern Ireland. Play for one side or the other – or not play at all because I may upset too many people… Those are my three options I'm considering very carefully."[119] He declared on 18 June 2014 that he would play for Ireland, if he qualifies.[120]

McIlroy lived near the village of Moneyreagh in County Down, about 20 minutes from Belfast. The land around his home included a custom-made practice facility and a scaled-down football pitch.[121] In September 2012, the house was put up for sale for a price of £2 million.[122] In December 2012, McIlroy purchased a $10 million property in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, located close to Jack Nicklaus' The Bear's Club.[123][124]

McIlroy is an Ambassador for UNICEF Ireland[125] and made his first visit to Haiti with UNICEF in June 2011.[126][127]

His great-uncle Joe McIlroy was killed by the Ulster Volunteer Force in a sectarian attack at his east Belfast home in November 1972.[9][128]

McIlroy dated Danish tennis professional Caroline Wozniacki from 2011 to 2014.[129] He proposed on 31 December 2013 in Sydney, where she said yes.[130] On 21 May 2014, it was announced that McIlroy had ended the engagement: "The problem is mine. The wedding invitations issued at the weekend made me realise that I wasn't ready for all that marriage entails. I wish Caroline all the happiness she deserves and thank her for the great times we've had."[131]

He is a fan of Premier League football team Manchester United.[132] In his acceptance speech following his 2014 Open Championship win at Royal Liverpool, McIlroy addressed the crowd by joking; "Even though I'm a Man United fan standing here," which saw him booed in jest by arch rival Liverpool fans, before he thanked them for their great support.[133]

Having signed a lucrative endorsement deal with American sportswear company Nike in 2013, McIlroy filmed a Nike commercial with Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.[134] In 2013, SportsPro ranked McIlroy the third most marketable athlete in the world behind football stars Neymar and Lionel Messi.[7]

McIlroy supports the Ulster Rugby team. He often interrupts his busy golfing schedule to attend matches at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast.[135][136]

McIlroy was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to sport.[137][138]

Amateur wins (5)[edit]

  • 2005 West of Ireland Championship, Irish Close Championship
  • 2006 West of Ireland Championship, Irish Close Championship, European Amateur Championship

Professional wins (15)[edit]

PGA Tour wins (9)[edit]

Legend
Major championships (4)
World Golf Championships (1)
FedEx Cup playoff event (2)
Other PGA Tour (2)
No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin
of victory
Runner(s)-up
1 2 May 2010 Quail Hollow Championship 72-73-66-62=273 −15 4 strokes United States Phil Mickelson
2 19 Jun 2011 U.S. Open 65-66-68-69=268 −16 8 strokes Australia Jason Day
3 4 Mar 2012 The Honda Classic 66-67-66-69=268 −12 2 strokes United States Tom Gillis, United States Tiger Woods
4 12 Aug 2012 PGA Championship 67-75-67-66=275 −13 8 strokes England David Lynn
5 3 Sep 2012 Deutsche Bank Championship 65-65-67-67=264 −20 1 stroke South Africa Louis Oosthuizen
6 9 Sep 2012 BMW Championship 64-68-69-67=268 −20 2 strokes United States Phil Mickelson, England Lee Westwood
7 20 Jul 2014 The Open Championship 66-66-68-71=271 −17 2 strokes United States Rickie Fowler, Spain Sergio García
8 3 Aug 2014 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational 69-64-66-66=265 −15 2 strokes Spain Sergio García
9 10 Aug 2014 PGA Championship (2) 66-67-67-68=268 −16 1 stroke United States Phil Mickelson

PGA Tour playoff record (0–2)

No. Year Tournament Opponents Result
1 2012 Wells Fargo Championship United States Rickie Fowler, United States D. A. Points Fowler won with birdie on first extra hole
2 2014 Honda Classic United States Russell Henley, Scotland Russell Knox, United States Ryan Palmer Henley won with birdie on first extra hole

European Tour wins (9)[edit]

Legend
Major championships (4)
Other European Tour (5)
No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin
of victory
Runner-up
1 1 Feb 2009 Dubai Desert Classic 64-68-67-70=269 −19 1 stroke England Justin Rose
2 19 Jun 2011 U.S. Open 65-66-68-69=268 −16 8 strokes Australia Jason Day
3 4 Dec 2011 UBS Hong Kong Open1 64-69-70-65=268 −12 2 strokes France Grégory Havret
4 12 Aug 2012 PGA Championship 67-75-67-66=275 −13 8 strokes England David Lynn
5 25 Nov 2012 DP World Tour Championship, Dubai 66-67-66-66=265 −23 2 strokes England Justin Rose
6 25 May 2014 BMW PGA Championship 68-71-69-66=274 −14 1 stroke Republic of Ireland Shane Lowry
7 20 Jul 2014 The Open Championship 66-66-68-71=271 −17 2 strokes United States Rickie Fowler, Spain Sergio García
8 3 Aug 2014 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational 69-64-66-66=265 −15 2 strokes Spain Sergio García
9 10 Aug 2014 PGA Championship (2) 66-67-67-68=268 −16 1 stroke United States Phil Mickelson

1 Co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour

European Tour playoff record (0–2)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 2008 Omega European Masters France Jean-François Lucquin Lost to birdie on second extra hole
2 2008^ UBS Hong Kong Open Taiwan Lin Wen-tang, Italy Francesco Molinari Lin won with birdie on second extra hole
Molinari eliminated with par on first hole

^November 2008, in 2009 season

Asian Tour wins (1)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin
of victory
Runner-up
1 4 Dec 2011 UBS Hong Kong Open1 64-69-70-65=268 −12 2 strokes France Grégory Havret

1 Co-sanctioned by the European Tour

PGA Tour of Australasia wins (1)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin
of victory
Runner-up
1 1 Dec 2013 Emirates Australian Open1 69-65-70-66=270 −18 1 stroke Australia Adam Scott

1 Co-sanctioned by the OneAsia Tour

Other wins (1)[edit]

Professional career summary[edit]

European Tour[edit]

Season Starts Cuts
made
Wins 2nd 3rd Top
10
Top
25
Earnings
()
Money
list rank
2005 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 (amateur) n/a
2006 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 (amateur) n/a
2007 8 6 0 0 1 2 2 277,255 95
2008 28 16 0 1 0 6 10 696,335 36
2009 25 24 1 3 3 14 18 3,610,020 2
2010 16 14 0 0 3 9 11 1,821,050 13
2011 19 19 2 2 3 12 17 4,002,168 2
2012 15 13 2 3 2 10 10 5,519,118 1
2013 13 10 0 0 0 4 5 862,177 35
Career* 128 102 5 9 12 57 73 16,788,123 11[139]

*As of the 2013 season.[140]

PGA Tour[edit]

Season Starts Cuts
made
Wins (majors) 2nd 3rd Top
10
Top
25
Earnings
($)
Money
list rank
2007 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 (amateur) n/a^
2009 11 10 0 0 1 3 7 849,719 n/a^
2010 16 12 1 0 2 5 6 2,554,280 26
2011 10 9 1 (1) 0 0 4 7 1,905,609 n/a^
2012 16 13 4 (1) 2 1 10 11 8,047,952 1
2013 16 14 0 1 0 5 7 1,802,443 41
2014* 12 12 3 (2) 1 0 8 12 6,965,896 1
Career* 82 71 9 (4) 4 4 35 50 22,125,898 44[141]

*As of 10 August 2014.[142]

  • ^ McIlroy was not a member of the PGA Tour in 2007, 2009 or 2011 so he was not included on the money list.
  • Note that there is double counting of money earned (and wins) in the majors and World Golf Championships since they are official events on both tours.

Major championships[edit]

Wins (4)[edit]

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner(s)-up
2011 U.S. Open 8 shot lead –16 (65-66-68-69=268) 8 strokes Australia Jason Day
2012 PGA Championship 3 shot lead –13 (67-75-67-66=275) 8 strokes England David Lynn
2014 The Open Championship 6 shot lead −17 (66-66-68-71=271) 2 strokes United States Rickie Fowler, Spain Sergio García
2014 PGA Championship (2) 1 shot lead –16 (66-67-67-68=268) 1 stroke United States Phil Mickelson

Results timeline[edit]

Tournament 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Masters Tournament DNP DNP T20 CUT T15 T40 T25 T8
U.S. Open DNP DNP T10 CUT 1 CUT T41 T23
The Open Championship T42LA DNP T47 T3 T25 T60 CUT 1
PGA Championship DNP DNP T3 T3 T64 1 T8 1

LA = Low amateur
DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.

Summary[edit]

Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 0 1 4 6 5
U.S. Open 1 0 0 1 2 3 6 4
The Open Championship 1 0 1 2 2 3 7 6
PGA Championship 2 0 2 4 5 5 6 6
Totals 4 0 3 7 10 15 25 21
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 7 (2010 Open Championship – 2012 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 2 (three times, current)

World Golf Championships[edit]

Wins (1)[edit]

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin of victory Runner-up
2014 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational 3 shot deficit −15 (69-64-66-66=265) 2 strokes Spain Sergio García

Results timeline[edit]

Tournament 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Accenture Match Play Championship QF R32 R32 2 R64 R32
Cadillac Championship T20 T65 T10 3 T8 T25
Bridgestone Invitational T68 T9 T6 T5 T27 1
HSBC Champions 4 5 T4 DNP T6

DNP = Did not play
QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" = tied
Yellow background for top-10.

Team appearances[edit]

Amateur

Professional

Equipment[edit]

Caddie J. P. Fitzgerald holds McIlroy's bag in May 2013.

As of 20 July 2014[143]

  • Driver: Nike Covert Tour 2.0 8.5* - Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage Silver TiNi 70TX
  • 3 Wood: Nike VR_S Covert 2.0 14* - Fujikura Rombax P95 X-flex
  • 5 Wood: Nike VR_S Covert 19* - Fujikura Rombax P95 X-flex
  • Irons: Nike MM prototype (2 Iron), Nike VR Pro Blades (3–9) - Project X 7.0
  • Wedges: Nike VR Forged (47, 52, 54, 56 and 59 degrees) - Project X 6.5
  • Putter: Nike Method 006
  • Ball: Nike RZN Black

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Graeme McDowell
RTÉ Sports Person of the Year
2011
Succeeded by
Katie Taylor