Rory McIlroy began final round of the PGA Championship with the lead and he never looked back. Sunday's final round wasn't even close.
McIlroy, the 2011 U.S. Open winner, looked masterful at The Ocean Course, winning the Major with a score of 13-under-par. He finished eight strokes ahead of the next competitor, David Lynn.
"I set a target. I said if I can get to 12-under no one can catch me," McIlroy said. "I was able to do one better than that."
The record setting eight stroke margin of victory is the largest margin of victory at a PGA Championship since Jack Nicklaus won the 1980 PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club by seven strokes.
"I didn't allow myself to think about (winning) until 18," McIlroy said. "I allowed myself the luxury walking up 18 knowing that I was going to win."
And being named the PGA Championship winner comes with a big monetary award. McIlory's victory won him $1,445,000.
Beginning the day at 7-under-par, McIlroy birdied his first three holes and played a bogey-free final round.
The 23-year-old took off his hat and soaked in the cheers as he walked down No. 18, grinning from ear-to-ear. After he birdied the final hole, McIlroy hugged his caddy before waving to the massive crowd surrounding the hole as his coronation began.
It was a celebration that he could see coming from earlier in the week.
"I got here Monday afternoon. I went up to my locker. My locker was right by the window overlooking the putting green and overlooking like the beach and the ocean. I was thinking to myself, 'I just have a good feeling about this week'," said McIlroy. "I said it to my whole team; something about this just feels right."
But at times today it did not look like the PGA Championship would be a runaway victory for the golfer from Northern Ireland.
Ian Poulter, who began the day at 1-under, put pressure on eventual champion early with six birdies over the first seven holes. At one point Poulter was 8-under-par and within two strokes of McIlroy.
"I put myself in position, which was great," said Poulter. "I couldn't ask for a better nine holes."
But the back nine holes were less cooperative for the Englishman, and four bogeys dropped him out of contention.
"It was a great day," said Poulter, who finished the tournament 4-under. "I hit a lot of good golf shots, and it's just a shame I couldn't quite finish it off."
A number of golfers took advantage of unusually calm weather conditions at The Ocean Course today. After winds peaked at 30 mph on Friday and play being suspended on Saturday due to rain, the course offered a 10 mph breeze off the Atlantic Ocean that was advantageous for golfers.
"The wind is blowing in a favorable way, and some of the pins, even though they are tough, you can get down to them pretty easily," said Ben Curtis, who shot 5-under-today and finished tied for 11th at 2-under.
Tiger Woods, who was the favorite coming into the PGA Championship, finished the tournament at 2-under and tied for 11th as well. Woods, who was in search of his first major championship since the 2008 U.S. Open, struggled with his putter during the final round and went Even on the day.
"I was trying to enjoy it, enjoy the process of it," Woods said of his approach during the tournament. "But that's not how I play. I play full systems go, all-out, intense, and that's how I won 14 of these things."
When Woods was told McIlroy had won the championship, he spoke highly of the young golfer.
"He's very good. We all know the talent he has," said Woods. "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 its going, it's pretty impressive to watch."
Lynn, who started the final round at 1-under, had a spectacular day and finished at 5-under-par to take second place. This was only his second major championship appearance since playing in the 2003 U.S. Open.
When ranking this second place finish at the PGA Championship against his other career accomplishments, Lynn says it's right there towards the top.
"I'd have to put my win as my best thing I've ever experienced and achieved, " Lynn said, referring to his one victory on the European Tour at the 2004 KLM Open. " But to come and perform the way I have this week in a major is still very special, and is a great achievement. It's not sunk in properly yet to be honest."
2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, and Carl Peterson finished tied for 3rd at 4-under-par.
"From my perspective, obviously a really great way to finish," said Rose, who shot 6-under during the final round. "Had a great round going yesterday, didn't manage to finish it off, whereas I did today."
But from the moment McIlroy walked onto the course, he looked like a man destined to win. He was wearing black slacks and a red polo, the Sunday uniform Woods has made so popular.
"If I was going to be paired with him today, I wasn't going to wear red," McIlroy joked. "I wasn't playing with him and thought I would wear it. Might have to do it from now on. No wonder he wins so much."
Bradley, the tournament's defending champion, appeared satisfied with his game this week as he relinquished his crown as PGA champion.
"It feels good. I think it was a pretty good defense, when all is said and done," said Bradley.
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