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Rory McIlroy wins PGA Championship by record 8 strokes
Nicklaus’ mark falls by wayside
“He’s very good. We all know the talent he has,” Woods said. “He went through a little spell this year, and I think that was good for him. We all go through those spells in our careers. He’s got all the talent in the world to do what he’s doing. And this is the way that Rory can play. When he gets it going, it’s pretty impressive to watch.”
McIlroy finished on 13-under 275.
Ian Poulter put up the stiffest challenge, though not for long. Poulter, who started the final round six shots behind, made six birdies through seven holes to get within two shots. He made three straight bogeys on the back nine and had to settle for a 69. He tied for third at 4-under 284, along with Justin Rose (66) and defending champion Keegan Bradley (68).
In the final qualifying event for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, nothing changed.
Phil Mickelson was holding down the eighth and final spot, and he stayed there when neither Bo Van Pelt nor Steve Stricker could make a move on the back nine. Davis Love III will announce four captains’ picks in three weeks.
When he won the U.S. Open last year, Padraig Harrington suggested that perhaps McIlroy — not Woods — might be the one to challenge the record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus. That looked like nothing more than one Irishman boosting another when McIlroy didn’t come close in the next five majors.
“I think winning his second major is going to make things a lot easier for him,” Harrington said. “I think last year he proved it, but there’s been ups and downs since his last major win because of the pressure and the expectations and the hype. Now he’s delivered again. It’s going to be a lot easier for him going forward. And he’ll get better.”
“It’s tough to say that Rory is a Tiger Woods type player,” said Graeme McDowell, McIlroy’s closest friend on tour. “Tiger Woods is a once-in-a-lifetime player, and Rory is at least a once-in-a-decade type player. He’s that good. … He’s going to be a superstar of game, which he already is. But he’s a real superstar now.”
Poulter’s birdie on the par-5 11th hole closed the gap to two shots, but not for long. From the sandy area short of the 10th green, McIlroy blasted out and closed his eyes when the wind blew sand into his face. He never saw the ball check a foot from the cup. And with a 10-foot birdie putt on the 12th, there was no stopping him.
The win ends a streak of the last 16 majors going to 16 different winners. McIlroy joined Woods, Harrington and Mickelson as the only players to win majors in consecutive years over the last two decades.
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
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Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again