2012 PGA Champion
In 2012, Rory McIlroy completed a record-breaking performance to capture the Wanamaker Trophy when the 94th PGA Championship made its first visit to The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C.
The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland validated his record-setting U.S. Open Championship (won in 2011) by blowing away the field Aug. 12. He closed in the style befitting golf's royalty by knocking home a birdie putt from 25 feet on the 18th hole for a 6-under-par 66, a 13-under-par 275 total. His eight-stroke victory broke the PGA Championship record for victory margin that Jack Nicklaus set in 1980.
McIlroy jumped back to No. 1 in the world rankings and is the first from his homeland to win a PGA Championship and a U.S. Open. McIlroy also won the U.S. Open by eight strokes.
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. For the record, McIlroy is the fourth youngest PGA Champion.
Just as he did at Congressional Country Club in the 2011 U.S. Open, McIlroy separated himself from the field. He returned to the course Sunday morning to complete nine holes of a rain-delayed third round, offsetting a bogey at 13 with birdies at 15 and 16. His third-round 67 gave him a three-stroke lead. From that point, he went bogey free his final 23 holes. Nobody came closer than two strokes the remainder of the day.
What will likely be a signature salvation moment for McIlroy came early in the third round when he lodged his tee shot into a hollowed out branch of a former Live Oak tree on the third hole. He only found it with help from the TV crew, took his penalty shot and hit an approach to 6 feet to save par. Surviving a near disaster on the scorecard gave McIlroy momentum.
"It was a great round of golf. I'm speechless," said McIlroy after presented the Wanamaker Trophy. "It's just been incredible. I had a good feeling about it at the start. I never imagined to do this."
During the traditional Champions Toast in the clubhouse, McIlroy picked up the copy of the Wanamaker Trophy, which already had his name inscribed on the silver band near the base. He gave it a long inspection, with a big smile on his face.
"It means an awful lot to look at the names on that trophy, and to put my name alongside them is very special," McIlroy said.
The PGA Championship celebrates its 95th edition in 2013, with a return visit to Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. Since its inception in 1916, the PGA Championship has evolved into one of the world’s premier sporting events.
Read more about McIlroy's win.
The 20 PGA Club Professionals competing in the Season's Final Major made gallant bids, but each came up short at making the cut. Click here for more.
For a complete history of the PGA Championship, click here.