As we officially put the 2012 PGA Championship to bed, here are some record-book tidbits from Rory McIlroy’s big win:
-- His eight-shot margin of victory set a new PGA Championship record, breaking the old mark of seven shots set by Jack Nicklaus in 1980 at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y. Coincidentally, the 2013 PGA Championship will be played at Oak Hill. McIlroy also won the 2011 U.S. Open by eight shots.
-- The victory returned McIlroy to No. 1 in the world ranking.
-- McIlroy became the youngest player since Seve Ballesteros to win two majors. Tiger Woods was about four months older than McIlroy when he won his second major.
-- McIlroy's win ends a streak of the last 16 majors going to 16 different winners -- a stretch that coincided with Woods' drought in golf's biggest tournaments. Woods hasn't won a major since 2008.
-- Europeans had gone 78 years without winning the PGA Championship. Now they've won three of the past five (Padraig Harrington in 2008, Martin Kaymer in 2010, and McIlroy).
-- McIlroy is the first major champion to go bogey-free in the final round since Phil Mickelson at the 2010 Masters.
-- Five courses of at least 7,550 yards have been used in major championships. Two of those majors were won by McIlroy (2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional), two by Woods (2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah) and the other by Y.E. Yang (2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine).
And finally, the image at the top of this post is the best one I saw all week – and believe me, I saw a million of ‘em. Congrats to photographer Montana Pritchard, who captured this shot of McIlroy embracing his dad, Gerry, after the extra-long final day. The stories of McIlroy’s parents sacrificing so much to make their son’s golf dreams come true are well-known, and this shot certainly shows that the McIlroy family bonds are stronger than ever.