Open Championship winner McIlroy third to qualify for PGA Grand Slam of Golf
After enduring a year-long slump in 2013, Rory McIlroy is once again atop the golfing world.
McIlroy, 25, claimed his third major championship title in the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool on Sunday, shooting a 1-under 71 to finish at 17-under 271, two shots ahead of runners-up Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler.
McIlroy joined Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to reach three major victories by the age of 25.
He also became just the seventh player in the 143-year history of the Open Championship to win from start to finish.
McIlroy previously won the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA Championship. He's now 3/4 of the way to the career grand slam.
With his latest major triumph, McIlroy earned the third spot in the 2014 PGA Grand Slam of Golf, joining Masters champion Bubba Watson and U.S. Open winner Martin Kaymer Oct. 13-15, at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, Bermuda.
McIlroy was dominant throughout the week at Royal Liverpool. He shot out in front with consecutive rounds of 6-under 66 to start the tournament. At one point in Saturday's third round, McIlroy found himself in a tie for the lead with Rickie Fowler. That changed in a hurry.
Fowler made three bogeys and a birdie over his final five holes. McIlroy, meanwhile, had a birdie, two eagles and a bogey over his last five holes to take a six-shot advantage into the final round.
For good measure, McIlroy birdied his first hole of the day on Sunday to promptly stretch his lead to seven shots, but things got closer than he ever could have imagined with Fowler and Garcia making a Sunday run.
After a bogey at No. 13, McIlroy's lead was cut to two shots. He went three shots up again after a birdie at No. 16. Garcia birdied 18 to again cut the lead to two as McIlroy stood in the fairway.
Fowler, playing alongside McIlroy, birdied the hole too. McIlroy parred it for the win.
In 2011, McIlroy finished third in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. He did not play in 2012.
The PGA Grand Slam of Golf features a $1.35 million purse, with the winner receiving $600,000, second place $300,000, third place $250,000 and fourth place $200,000.
TNT's prime-time broadcast of the event reaches a worldwide audience of 88.9 million U.S. homes and international viewers in more than 100 countries. The PGA Grand Slam of Golf is hosted by the Bermuda Department of Tourism, Port Royal Golf Course, and the Fairmont Southampton Hotel.
Established in 1979, the PGA Grand Slam of Golf has grown from an 18-hole, single-day charity event to a 36-hole annual showdown that matches professional golf's best against each other.
The final spot in the elite foursome for the 2014 PGA Grand Slam of Golf will be filled by the winner of the 96th PGA Championship, Aug. 7-10, at Valhalla Golf Club.
While the PGA Grand Slam of Golf extends its four invitations each year to the winners of the four majors, there is a contingency plan in place should a player not be able to make the trip. In the event of an injury or a dual winner in a major championship, The PGA of America has developed a formula to complete the PGA Grand Slam of Golf field.
The Defending Champion receives the initial invitation, then the Major Champions Points List is used to complete the field. This equation incorporates active past major winners and how they compete in this year's major events. The point system awards 150 points for a second-place finish in a major event, 125 for third, 110 for fourth, 100 for fifth, 90 for sixth, 85 for seventh, all the way through 70th place, which receives 6 points. In order to be eligible for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, a player must be or must have been a major winner.