US PGA Championship: Rory McIlroy credits good sportsmanship of Phil Mickleson and Rickie Fowler after 'incredible' win

The world No 1 and Bernd Wiesberger were allowed to tee-off early in an effort to beat the darkness at Valhalla

World number one Rory McIlroy was delighted to claim his second major in four weeks and a third win in succession after a thrilling, weather-affected climax to the US PGA Championship on Sunday.

McIlroy carded a closing 68 at Valhalla to finish 16 under par, one shot ahead of Phil Mickelson after a remarkable final day which finished in near-darkness with the lights blazing from the clubhouse behind the 18th green.

Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson had been part of a three-way tie with Mickelson on the back nine but dropped shots on the closing stretch to finish two behind McIlroy.

A torrential downpour which flooded the course and caused a delay of almost two hours meant it was a race against time to get play finished, so much so that Mickelson and Fowler stood aside on the 18th to allow the final group to tee off and play their approaches to the green.

"It's been just incredible," McIlroy said. "I didn't think in my wildest dreams I would have a summer like this. I just played the best golf in my life."

Read more: Glory for Rory as McIlroy seals comeback win
McIlroy puts win down to 'lucky' eagle on the 10th

McIlroy, who won the 2011 US Open and 2012 US PGA by eight shots and was six clear going into the final round of the Open at Royal Liverpool, added: "I gutted it out today, it was a little different to my previous major wins. I think I showed a lot of guts to get the job done.

"I want to thank Phil and Rickie for letting us tee off, if they didn't it would have been a struggle to finish. It showed a lot of sportsmanship and class from those two guys."

Asked if he considered not finishing the hole, McIlroy added: "No, I wanted to win this thing and get out of here! It was very tough with the bunker shot and the depth perception so I decided to just chunk it out there, take my two putts and run."

Mickelson did not appear happy with the decision to allow McIlroy and Bernd Wiesberger to hit their approach shots to the 18th as he and Fowler stood aside, but added: "It didn't affect the outcome I think. It's not what we normally do but it's not a big deal.

"It's a courteous thing to let the guys tee off in case they blow the horn. It gave everyone a chance to finish just in the nick of time."

As for a closing 66 which sealed his place on the US Ryder Cup team, Mickelson added: "It was fun to get back back in the mix and feel the pressure. I just ran out of steam after 12 holes.

"I wasn't really firing on all cylinders but making some key putts and had a nice round going. After that birdie on 11 I thought if I could get one or two more I would be right there and it was a costly bogey on 16 in the end.

"I am disappointed in the outcome, if I could have finished the last five or six holes strong it could have flipped the way I feel about the whole year."

McIlroy celebrates a birdie at 13 on his way to the US PGA Championship McIlroy celebrates a birdie at 13 on his way to the US PGA Championship Fowler has now finished fifth, second, second and third in the year's four majors but acknowledged today was the first real chance he had to win.

"This is the first one that hurts," Fowler said. "I played well to put myself in a good position and unfortunately just made a couple of bad swings on the back nine that put me in bad positions.

"The performances in the majors is something I can be proud of but Rory has been a deserving champion every time. We will see if we can get one away from him at some point."

Stenson was left to rue a three-putt on the 14th, adding: "There were a lot of roars being thrown back and forth and a lot of birdies being made. It must have been a great championship to watch on television or out there. I was part of it. I'm happy with that. Gave it my best.

"I was four shots back when we started today. It would have taken a back nine similar to my front nine, I guess, to pull it off. I just didn't have it. I had one half of it, not two."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
film
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
News
video
Life and Style
food + drink
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

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore