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


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.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform