BMW PGA Championship 2014: Rory McIlroy ends tumultuous week in which he split with Caroline Wozniacki with triumph at Wentworth

Northern Irishman carded a six-under-par 66 in the final round

Wentworth

Love hurts. Winning certainly helps heal the pain. Rory McIlroy may have cancelled the wedding in New York, but at least the reception at Wentworth on Sunday was terrific. No invitations were sent out but 25,000 people came anyway to give the Northern Irishman a collective hug and to roar their support for him as he rolled in his final birdie putt on the 18th green for a 66 to get to 14 under par and seal victory at the BMW PGA Championship.

It is his 12th victory as a professional but bizarrely the first on European soil. McIlroy’s celebrations were muted and he admitted that he had “mixed emotions” in victory. “I can’t explain it but I’m sitting here looking at this trophy thinking how the hell did it happen this week? But it did.”

McIlroy began the week close to tears announcing that the romance with Caroline Wozniacki was over. He looked barely capable of making the weekend cut as his head and heart were clearly scrambled. He admitted as much, too. Yet it is testament to the genius of this 25-year-old that he was able to step inside the ropes here and, like a boxer, filter out the fog of life’s travails and the heartbreak of the breakdown of his impending marriage.

McIlroy began the day seven shots behind Thomas Bjorn, who started the final round with a five-shot lead of his rivals. The 43-year-old Dane blew it. “It was not an event I would have envisaged winning at the start of the week,” McIlroy said. “But when I got inside the ropes, it was like a release. I was on my own and doing what I do best, which is playing golf, and that sort of gave me four or five hours of serenity or sanctuary,” he said. “I’m looking at the trophy thinking how the hell did I do it?”

 

He did it by playing beautifully but he also had help from those around him making mistakes. It all started to unravel for Bjorn at the sixth. He took a swipe out of sand but his ball cannoned off the lip of the bunker and lobbed back at his feet. Bjorn had to show some nifty Riverdance jigging to avoid it hitting him, which would have incurred a penalty. But he hobbled off the green with a triple-bogey seven. His lead was gone and it never came back. He limped home with a 75 to finish two shots adrift.

“It’s a disappointment when you come off the golf course like this,” Bjorn said. “Just didn’t get it right today and I made that massive judgement error on the sixth, and that let everybody back into the frame.”

Whatever was ailing Bjorn, it was clearly contagious. Luke Donald matched his seven. But the Englishman is a former World No 1 and is a fighter. Sporting black and white gangster spats, he machine-gunned five birdies but he could only par the final two holes when he needed two birdies to take McIlroy into a play-off.

Ireland’s Shane Lowry eagled the par-five fourth to catch Bjorn but if they both looked in their rear-view mirrors, they would have seen McIlroy’s name writ large on the giant leaderboards around the West Course. McIlroy, like his best mate Lowry, eagled the fourth. His putt dithered on the edge of the hole before making the decision to commit. It prompted his biggest smile of the week. It gave note that here was one occasion he was going to stick around for.

But after three birdies in a row from the 10th, it looked like Lowry had control of the tournament. But he bunted one into the trees at the 13th, had to take a penalty drop, and trudged off with a double-bogey six. His body language was that of a child at a party who had just accidentally popped his own balloon. Lowry at least went home with some cake holing from 50 feet at the final hole to finish second as McIlroy’s bridesmaid at 13 under par.

Meanwhile, McIlroy had seemingly remembered that he is a two-time major winner and a former World No 1 rather than a single young man again. Three birdies in four holes from the 10th signalled that he was about to break more hearts this week. He is No 1 in driving distance on the European Tour this season averaging 314 yards and he began to make his prodigious length off the tee pay dividends. His short game’s not too shabby, either. He chipped in at the 10th for a birdie and got up and down from the greenside bunker at the 18th for the birdie that separated him from his rivals.

The next major stop for McIlroy will be the US Open at Pinehurst in North Carolina in three weeks’ time. “This does my confidence the world of good to know I can get the job done under pressure,” he said. “I think this was meant to be in some strange way.”

But there’s a trip to Belfast before all that. A reality check from his celebrity life. “I’m going to go home to see my mum,” McIlroy said.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Life and Style
i100

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week