KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – For every major tournament, there is inevitable mention of the ‘countdown.’ How many more majors does Tiger Woods have to win to pass Jack Nicklaus?
For the record, he still needs five to beat Nicklaus’ 18 major championships.
But is it too early to start a parallel countdown? How many more majors does Rory McIIroy need to pass both of them?
McIIroy won his second major Sunday by a record eight strokes in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Ocean course. That broke Nicklaus’ seven-stroke victory at the 1980 PGA.
McIIroy, who also won the the 2011 U.S. Open, is 23 years, three months old. He is the third youngest to win a second major – four months ahead of Woods (1999), one month behind Nicklaus (1963) and more than two years older than Gene Sarazen, who was at 20 years, 5 months when he won his second in 1922.
McIIroy has plenty of time to get catch Nicklaus and Woods.
McIlroy turned a three-shot lead after 54 holes into an eight shot rout with a bogey-free 66 in the final round. With the win, McIlroy joins Woods as the only two active players under age 40 with multiple major wins.
McIlroy seized control with back-to-back birdies Sunday morning to complete the storm-delayed third round with a 67 and build a three-shot lead. No one got closer than two shots the rest of the way, and McIlroy closed out a remarkable week by playing bogey-free over the final 23 holes of a demanding Ocean Course.
David Lynn, a 38-year-old from England who was playing in America for the first time, won the B-flight. He closed with a 68 and was the runner-up.
Woods, who shared the 36-hole lead for the second time this year in a major, was never a serious factor. He tossed away his chances Saturday before the storm blew in and never could get closer than four shots. He closed with a 72.
“It was a great round of golf. I’m speechless,” said McIlroy after hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy, 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.”
Woods said of McIIroy, “He’s very good. We all know the talent he has. He went through a little spell this year, and I think that was good for him. We all go through those spells in our careers. He’s got all the talent in the world to do what he’s doing. And this is the way that Rory can play. When he gets it going, it’s pretty impressive to watch.”
Here are the final-round notes:
Final-Round Leaderboard: Rory McIlroy, 275 (-13); David Lynn, 283 (-5); Carl Pettersson, (-4, 284); Justin Rose (-4, 284); Keegan Bradley (-4, 284); Ian Poulter (-4, 284).
- McIlroy wins for the fourth time on the PGA Tour in his 50th start.
- Collects 600 points and moves to No. 2 in FedExCup standings. Woods continues to lead the FedExCup standings. The top 125 players in the FedExCup point’s standings following next week’s Wyndham Championship will qualify for The Barclays, the first event in the FedExCup Playoffs.
- Collects second win in 17th start in a major. It is his sixth top-10 finish in a major. Woods won his second in his 18th (12/pro and 6/amateur) start in a major.
- Records seventh top-10 finish in 12 starts on Tour this season. Claims his second win on Tour this season (The Honda Classic).
- Has now converted three of four and three consecutive third-round leads on Tour. He held a four-stroke lead after 54 holes at the 2011 Masters before eventually finishing T15 following a final-round 80. Two months later he was eight strokes ahead after 54 holes at the 2011 U.S. Open and went on to an eight-stroke win. This year he led the Honda Classic by two strokes and won by two.
- McIlroy has led going into the final round in three of his last eight majors (2011 Masters, 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA Championship). McIlroy’s third-round lead is his first lead after any round in a PGA Championship.
- He regained the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings. Ascended to No. 1 in the OWGR for the first time in his career on March 5, 2012 and held the top spot for a total of eight weeks (not consecutive) in March, April and May.
- McIlroy has won his first two majors by a combined 16 shots 8/2011 U.S. Open and 8/2012 PGA Championship). Woods won his first two majors by a combined 13 shots (12/1997 Masters and 1/1999 PGA Championship).
- A player from Northern Ireland has won four of the last 11 major championships (2010 U.S. Open/Graeme McDowell, 2011 U.S. Open/Rory McIlroy, 2011 British Open/Darren Clarke and 2012 PGA Championship/Rory McIlroy).
- Collects third top-3 finish in four career starts in the PGA Championship T3/2009, T3/2010, T64/2011 and 1st/2012.
- Is the first player from Northern Ireland to win the PGA Championship. Is the first player from the United Kingdom to win the PGA Championship since Tommy Armour in 1930.
- Is only the sixth European to win the PGA Championship: Jim Barnes (1916 and 1919), Jock Hutchinson (1920), Tommy Armour (1930), Padraig Harrington (2008), Martin Kaymer (2010), Rory McIlroy (2012).
- Ends a streak of 16 different consecutive major champions, dating back to Padraig Harrington at the 2008 PGA Championship.
- The last time there was a longer streak of different players winning majors started when Larry Nelson won the 1983 U.S. Open and ended when Larry Nelson won the 1987 PGA Championship. It was a streak of 18 different winners.
- Since 1972, McIlroy is only the third player from the United Kingdom to win multiple major championships, joining Nick Faldo and Sandy Lyle.
- Players under the age of 30 with three or more victories on the Tour: Dustin Johnson (6), Rory McIlroy (4), Anthony Kim (3), Webb Simpson (3), Keegan Bradley (3).
- McIlroy’s second round 75 is the highest second-round score by a winner. The previous was a 74 by Padraig Harrington in 2008.
- McIlroy goes bogey-free in the final round to win. Phil Mickelson is the last player to go bogey-free in the final round of a major and win (2010 Masters).
- Lynn, from Trentham, England, finished second in only his second career start in a Tour event. His only other start was a T53 at the 2003 British Open.
- Lynn’s only win on the European Tour came at the 2004 KLM Open.
- By finishing in the top four, Lynn earns an invitation to the 2013 Masters.
- Poulter has made the cut in all 12 of his starts on Tour this season. He has four top 10s. His best finish this season was third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
- Poulter’s only win on Tour came at the 2010 World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.
- Poulter has top 10s in three of his last four major starts (7/2012 Masters, T9/2012 British Open, T3/2012 PGA Championship). He finished T41 at the U.S. Open this year.
- Poulter had five consecutive birdies (Nos. 1-5) in the final round, which is the longest streak in a major this season.
- The most consecutive birdies in a major since 2003 is seven by Woods (Nos. 7-13, third round) at the 2005 Masters Tournament. The Tour record for consecutive birdies is nine by Mark Calcavecchia, (Nos. 12-2, second round, Glen Abbey GC) at the 2009 RBC Canadian Open.
- Made his 40th career start in a major. Best finish in a major is second at the 2008 British Open.
- Made his 11th start in the PGA Championship. Previous best performance at the PGA Championship was T9 in 2006.
- Was trying to become only the second Englishman to win the PGA Championship (Jim Barnes in 1916 and 1919).
- Pettersson’s only two previous top 10s in a major were T6 at the 2008 U.S. Open and T8 at the 2006 British Open.
- Petterson records his first top 10 in eight career starts in the PGA Championship. His previous best finish was T24 in 2010.
- Pettersson’s win at the 2012 RBC Heritage tied him with Jesper Parnevik for most wins (5) on the Tour by a Swedish player.
- Two of Pettersson’s last three wins have been in South Carolina (2012 RBC Heritage) and North Carolina (2008 Wyndham Championship in Greensboro).
- Pettersson won earlier this year in South Carolina at the RBC Heritage on Hilton Head Island. Kiawah Island is 110 miles from Hilton Head Island if you were driving, but only 53 miles in a direct line.
- Pettersson is in the top 10 in the FedExCup standings. Since the FedExCup started in 2007, Pettersson has only advanced to the Tour Championship by Coca-Cola one time in 2008. He finished 21st in the FedExCup standings in 2008.
- Pettersson held the first and second-round lead this week at the PGA Championship. Pettersson shared the first-round lead at the 2002 British Open, but finished T43. The only other player from Sweden to lead a major after the first round is Robert Karlsson at the 2008 PGA Championship (finished T20).
- The last Swedish player to lead a major coming into this week was Peter Hanson after the third-round at the 2012 Masters (finished T3).
- Other notable leads by Swedish players include, Henrik Stenson leading the 2006 PGA Championship after the second round (finished T14). Jesper Parnevik led the 1997 British Open after the third round, but finished T2.
- Sweden has never produced a major championship winner. The best finish ever in a major by a Swede is Jesper Parnevik (2nd at the 1994 British Open and T2 and the 1997 British Open) and Niclas Fasth (second in the 2001 British Open).
Tiger Woods (T11)
- Woods has never come-from-behind to win a major championship. He was five back to start the final round today.
- Woods did not break par in a weekend round at a major championship in 2012.
- Woods has now gone four years without a major championship win. His last was at the 2008 U.S. Open.
Here are the final-round notes:
- A player in his 20s has won seven of the last 10 major championships (Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley, Rory McIlroy (2), Charl Schwartzel, Martin Kaymer and Louis Oosthuizen). Bubba Watson (age 33), Darren Clarke (age 42 at 2011 British Open) and Ernie Els (42 at 2012 British Open) are the exceptions.
- From the 2010 U.S. Open through the 2011 British Open, international players won six consecutive Major Championships – the longest streak since the Masters Tournament began in 1934. Since that time, Americans have won three of the last five majors (Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson). Ernie Els’ win at the 2012 British Open and Rory McIlroy’s win at the 2012 PGA Championship are the exceptions.
- This is the 15th event suspended/delayed this season on Tour. This is the eighth straight event that has had a suspension/delay.