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.
What win could mean for Rory McIlroy
Series: Golf Buzz
Published: Sunday, May 25, 2014 | 12:22 p.m.
What started off as a rough week for Rory McIlroy ended on a high note on Sunday.
Early last week, the former world No. 1 and two-time major champion announced he had called off his engagement with tennis star Caroline Wozniaki. During his press conference ahead of the BMW Championship -- the European Tour's flagship event -- McIlroy was visibly shaken.
People around the world can relate -- it's not easy going through a break up. And, for high-profile athletes like McIlroy and Wozniaki, unfortunately their private lives are very much in the public.
McIlroy got past those emotions and won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth by one shot on Sunday over Shane Lowery.
We don't need to make it anymore dramatic than it was -- again, everyone has been through a break up. But, for McIlroy, this is a big step towards moving ahead with his professional life which has been shaky since the start of 2013.
In fact, McIlroy's victory on Sunday was his first on the European Tour since the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai in November of 2012. His last victory on the PGA Tour was in September of that same year during the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup at the BMW Championship.
While McIlroy did win the Emirates Australian Open in December, this one today is much bigger for many reasons. First of all, he's officially gotten the monkey off his back with a win on one of the two biggest tours (European or PGA) in the world since his much discussed and analyzed equipment change at the start of 2013.
Secondly, this particular tournament is arguably the most coveted on the European Tour outside of the majors. Essentially, this is the European Tour's version of the Players Championship.
The victory will give McIlroy the on-course abundance of confidence that has been missing from his game for nearly a year and a half. That's huge. It also comes at a great time with the U.S. Open right around the corner.
Finally, the the No. 1 spot in the world playing the role of hot potato lately, this could be the start of McIlroy getting the train back on the track toward reaching that spot yet again.