McIlroy looking to join elite list at Open Championship

Rory McIlroy
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If Rory McIlroy is able to win the Open Championship this weekend, he will put his name alongside some elite company in the annals of golf history.
By T.J. Auclair, Senior Interactive Producer
PGA.com
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Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Saturday, July 19, 2014 | 6:39 a.m.

Rory McIlroy is hoping to do something this week that has only been done six times in the long history of the Open Championship -- win from start to finish.

Ted Ray (1912), Bobby Jones (1927), Gene Sarazen (1932), Henry Cotton (1934), Tom Weiskopf (1973) and Tiger Woods (2005) are the only players to win the Open wire-to-wire.

MORE: Open leaderboard | Saturday's Open Championship photos | Complete coverage

McIlroy began the third round of the Open on Saturday at Royal Liverpool with a four-shot lead at 12 under over Dustin Johnson.

According to Justin Ray, a researcher for Golf Channel, in major championship history, players with a 4+ shot lead after 36 holes have gone on to win 51 percent of the time.

So, yes, the odds are in McIlroy's favor, but perhaps not as severely as you'd think.

It should be noted that McIlroy is included among that 51 percent -- he won the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional after taking a six-shot lead into the weekend (he was also the wire-to-wire winner there).

Should McIlroy win come Sunday, he'd also join Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players in history to win three majors (since the Masters became a major) by the age of 25.

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.