Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy has reclaimed the No.1 spot in world golf after a record-setting victory in the US PGA Championship in Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
McIlroy took out his second grand slam, following his US Open victory, by a record eight shots – beating the previous winning margin in the tournament of seven shots set by Jack Nicklaus.
Firing a final round six-under par 66 to finish at 13 under the card for the tournament, McIlroy was a whopping eight shots ahead of unheralded Englishman David Lynn, whose 68 gave him second spot.
Europeans dominated the tournament as Englishmen Justin Rose (66) and Ian Poulter (69), defending champion American Keegan Bradley (68), and Swede Carl Peterrsson (72) all tied for third at four under par.
Adam Scott (73) and Geoff Ogilvy (70) were the best of the Australians. They shared 11th place but were 11 shots adrift of the pace.
"It was a great round of golf. I’m speechless," said McIlroy after hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy with some difficulty – it is the heaviest of the four majors.
"It’s just been incredible. I had a good feeling about it at the start. I never imagined to do this.
"Yeah, just an incredible day. I just sort of continued on from the rain delay last night, played some beautiful golf on the back nine this morning. Even though I didn’t hole any putts I could have holed a couple of putts and been a bit better," he said.
"I went out this afternoon and just tried to play solid golf and I set myself a target. I said, look if get to 12 under par, nobody is going to catch me and I was able to go one better than that.
"To sit up here and see this trophy and call myself a multiple Major Champion…I know I’ve talked about it in the past, and not many people have done it, and yeah, I’m very privileged to join such an elite list of names."
McIlroy said his win was more satisfying because of his performances since winning the US title.
"I think I made it very clear that I wasn’t too happy with how I’ve performed in the majors since the US Open. I didn’t really contend. And come in here Wednesday and just talked about giving myself a chance and to be honest, that’s all I wanted to do," he said.
"I feel these days when I give myself a chance to win one of these big tournaments, I can draw on the memories of Augusta, of Congressional, and now of today, and know what I did out there and know what to do again.
"So you know, there’s a few emotions going through. There’s quite a bit of relief to get the second one out of the way. But you know, just so happy that I was able to play like this and win another major.
McIlroy took a three-shot cushion into the final round after finishing off his rain delayed third round with 67.
His compatriot and fellow major champion Padraig Harrington said the 23-year-old would go on to collect more major tournaments now he has two under his belt.
"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."
Adam Scott, after redemption following his British Open meltdown, had chances but was unable to capitalise, nor could he threaten the runaway McIlroy.
Scott was only one shot from the lead with nine holes to play in his third round early on Sunday but stumbled with two bogeys to drop four behind and out of range.
Ogilvy played his way into the leading group behind McIlroy and gave his flagging 2012 campaign a boost when he eagled the second hole and birdied the sixth. He dropped a shot at the 10th to join Scott as the leading Australians.
Next, in order, came Marc Leishman (+1), John Senden (+2), Greg Chalmers (+2), Aaron Baddeley (+4) and Marcus Fraser (+10).