Young monarch Rory McIlroy seizes US PGA crown from the front

Poulter's last-round challenge inspires the Ulsterman to clinch first UK triumph since 1930

Kiawah Island

Rory McIlroy wore red yesterday and channelled Tiger Woods circa 2000 to win the 94th US PGA Championship by eight shots with a score of 13 under par. His final round of 66 was a stunning encore to his maiden eight-shot major victory at the US Open last year.

Sport has just witnessed another jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring, shot-making, wedge-zipping, history-making performance from the Holywood hero.

"It was a great round of golf," McIlroy said. "I just wanted to play solid but got off to a bit of a shaky start. From there I settled into it and I thought my putting was phenomenal. It's been an incredible week."

McIlroy is the first Northern Irishman to kiss the enormous silver Wanamaker Trophy and the first player from the UK to win the US PGA Championship since Edinburgh's Tommy Armour won as an American citizen in 1930.

Aged 23 years and 100 days, McIlroy usurps Woods in 1999 as the youngest ever champion and is also the youngest to claim his first two majors since Seve Ballesteros won the Masters in 1980. Since The European Tour's first season in 1972, McIlroy joins Nick Faldo and Sandy Lyle as the third player from the UK to win multiple majors. Exalted company, indeed.

McIlroy was writing his own history. The player leading after 54 holes has failed to win 11 of the last 14 majors and not one of them was this year. Until now. And this was the era of 16 different champions in the last 16 majors. Strike that record, too.

It was never in doubt once McIlroy reached the back nine with his three-shot lead from the third round intact. But it wasn't without its hiccups. He strayed off line from the ninth tee, and left himself a Phil Mickelson-style parachute fop shot across a cavernous hollow on the edge of the green. He zipped it to five feet from the hole. Genius.

He followed the putt into the hole with his first air punch of the day. He knew the significance of saving par. He played another "get out of jail free" card at the 10th after hooking his tee shot on to a sandy path. He hacked into a greenside bunker and almost holed out for a birdie.

Ian Poulter did his best to put up a fight. He birdied the first five holes, draining a total of 60 feet of putts. He sped from one under par to six under par to get McIlroy's attention.

But rather than intimidate McIlroy, it seemed to inspire him. Among all the birdies, it was those two sensational par saves at the ninth and 10th that demonstrated he had no intention of recreating his Masters meltdown from last year or of matching Adam Scott's final four-holes implosion at the Open last month.

After his Sunday morning lie-in was rudely awakened by a dawn chorus alarm call, McIlroy tapped in for his par to finish his storm-delayed third round at seven under par. As he strolled off the 18th green, he spotted his father, Gerry. There was no hug. No smile. No words between them. Just a quick handshake and a knowing look. Maybe they knew that all those predicting an easy victory were right. Or maybe they realized the difficulty of the task ahead. Or maybe they were just both still half-asleep. McIlroy slipped off for a snooze before the final round. How's that for cool?

The Olympics showed, once again, that no lead is big enough, unless your name is Usian Bolt or McIlroy, and that the only lead you need is one one-hundredth of a second. The only guarantee is that there will be tears of joy and despair – by athletes and spectators alike.

Thirty thousand golf fans trooped through the gates of the Ocean Course each day here via the only road in an out of Kiawah Island. The nearest city, Charleston, is 45 minutes away. The journey time for many was up to two hours. And still they came. And when they got here, they endured monsoon downpours, end of the world thunderstorms and got eaten alive by mosquitos but not, thankfully, by the alligators.

Sports fans will go to extraordinary lengths to support their heroes. Yesterday they cheered McIlroy all the way along his back-nine coronation. They applauded Woods, too, who reverted to missing putts and thrashing drivers into the wilderness to finish at two under. They clapped the underdogs too, like Stoke's world No 98 David Lynn, who probably surprised even himself by finishing runner-up at five under ahead of Poulter, Justin Rose, Keegan Bradley and Carl Pettersson, all on four under.

It's not about trophies or the medals table; it's about the love of sport. Whether it's Bolt or Mo Farah in the Olympic Stadium in London, or McIlroy at the end of a one-lane track in South Carolina, the message is the same. Like the voice said in Field of Dreams: "Build it, and he will come."

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders