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After 3 boring majors, McIlroy wins riveting PGA Championship

Mickelson Disappointed In Outcome

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- The challenge finally arrived for Rory McIlroy, and he was better than ever Sunday to win the PGA Championship.

On a back nine filled with clutch shots and as much tension as a major can provide, McIlroy emerged from a four-man race to outlast Phil Mickelson and the darkness at Valhalla to capture his second straight major.

McIlroy closed with a 3-under 68 and became only the fourth player in the last century of golf to win four majors at 25 or younger. The others were Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Bobby Jones, three of the game's greatest players.

Boy Wonder appears on his way to belonging in that group.

"I didn't think in my wildest dreams I'd have a summer like this," said McIlroy, only the seventh player to win the last two majors of the year. "I played the best golf of my life. I really gutted it out today."

But one of the greatest shows on soggy turf came with a most peculiar ending.

Three shots behind going to the back nine, McIlroy rallied to take the lead and then hit a 9-iron from the fairway bunker to 10 feet for birdie on the 17th hole for a two-shot lead going to the par-5 18th. Because of a two-hour rain delay earlier, darkness was falling quickly and it wasn't certain McIlroy would be able to finish.

McIlroy was allowed to hit his tee shot before Mickelson and Rickie Fowler had reached their drives. Both were only two shots behind, still in the game. McIlroy came within a yard of hitting in a hazard right of the fairway.

Then, the PGA of America allowed McIlroy to hit his second shot. Mickelson and Fowler had to stand to the side of the green.

"We were cool with hitting the tee shot," Fowler said. "We weren't expecting the approach shots."

Fowler had a 50-foot eagle attempt to tie for the lead. He was well off the mark, and missed the short birdie putt attempt that cost him his third straight runner-up finish in a major. Mickelson was short of the green, and his chip came within inches of dropping for an eagle that would have tied him for the lead.

Mickelson appeared upset that they had to wait to finish the hole - not standard procedure in a PGA Tour event - and he made two references in a TV interview that this is the only championship the PGA of America runs all year.

"It didn't affect the outcome of the championship at all, I don't think," Mickelson said. "It's not what we normally do. It's not a big deal either way."

Mickelson closed with a 66 and was runner-up for the ninth time in a major.

Fowler became the first player in history to finish in the top five at all four majors without winning one. He closed with a 68 and tied for third with Henrik Stenson, who fell out of a share of the lead by missing a 3-foot par putt on the 14th hole. Stenson shot a 66.

McIlroy hit his second shot into a bunker, and he had to two-putt from 35 feet for the win. He lagged the first one to tap-in range, and the major was his. McIlroy repeatedly pumped his fist before letting out a scream above the gallery that had been treated to one of the best shows ever in a major.

He won his first two majors by eight shots at the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA Championship. Only a month ago, McIlroy took a six-shot lead into the final round of the British Open and completed a wire-to-wire win with only a brief scare.

This was his first big test, and it took some of his best golf to come through.

"I think I showed a lot of guts out there to get the job done," he said.

The winning shot turned out to be that 9-iron from the bunker and the birdie putt on the 17th hole that gave him a two-shot lead, the largest margin for anyone on a day when as many as five players claimed a share of the lead.

It might not have been possible without a 3-wood on the par-5 10th hole.

Standing in the fairway, McIlroy watched Fowler drain a 30-foot birdie putt to take the outright lead. McIlroy was 281 yards away, slightly uphill, and his short caught the left side of the fairway and rolled onto the green before stopping 7 feet away for an eagle that got him back in the game.

Mickelson holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 11th hole to tie Fowler, and it looked to be his day when he rolled in a 30-foot par putt on the 12th. Stenson hit a bold shot to the island-green 13th for a short birdie to tie for the lead, only to fall back.

McIlroy caught the leaders with a birdie on the 13th.

None of the other contenders made another birdie the rest of the way until it was too late.

All that was left after an exhausting day of raw emotions was the coronation. Not since Woods in 2008 has anyone won three straight tournaments, and they were big ones for McIlroy - the British Open, a World Golf Championship and the PGA Championship. He played them in a combined 48-under par.

"He's better than everyone else right now," Mickelson said.

Join the discussion

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lv2213frs August 10 2014 at 9:25 PM

Thank God! I am so sick of hear the name "Tiger" and maybe now he will go away.

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5 replies
gegeorv August 10 2014 at 9:19 PM

Well maybe now the announcers and the papers will get over their love affair with Tiger and will announce the leaders of the tournaments instead of how Tiger withdrew or how much he is behind.

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2 replies
David gegeorv August 10 2014 at 9:28 PM

Oh I don't know... I find it more interesting to see how Tigers day went... did he get his nails done.. did he go swimming.. how about his stance on the current affairs in Israel??.. LOL...Unfortunately it will be about Tiger for years to come instead of how great the field is without him.

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2 replies
bdgrizcp David August 11 2014 at 8:35 AM

It is less about Tiger and that trend will continue until he mounts a comeback. It could happen. It's already about how great the field is when you have ten players withing striking distance on a Sunday in a major. That none of them is Tiger no longer matters. His back issues--I have a bad back and I cannot play golf at all. My guess is that Tiger probably injured his back when he was heavy into weight training. Golf, unfortnately, puts a huge amount of stress on the weakest point of human anatomy.

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blackjkdealer David August 11 2014 at 11:21 AM

@david, I tend to agree with you, not about the first part of your statement (LOL). The Tiger does this, The Tiger did that, and the wonder what Tiger is doing tonight stuff makes me want to throw up. It is actually more interesting when we hear about the others that are playing and a few things about them. But sadly since the announcers can't seem to think of anything new to talk about. It will be Tiger this, Tiger that for years to come.

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arakuzi gegeorv August 10 2014 at 9:36 PM

that's because the media only anouces news that involves negroes

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3 replies
buddwhyzr August 10 2014 at 9:28 PM

Rory you are the man!!!! You tamed the Tiger on the course, and did it like he ruined his career......in the dark.

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1 reply
arakuzi buddwhyzr August 10 2014 at 9:35 PM

what career? liar and cheater?

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curtschnell August 10 2014 at 9:33 PM

Yep, Tiger is so important to the PGA. LOL! Record breaking galleries on the course this weekend without Tiger on the course.

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1 reply
Randy curtschnell August 11 2014 at 8:42 AM

There were record breaking crowds when Tiger was ON THE COURSE FOR PRACTICE on Wednesday... There were going to be record breaking crowds at Valhalla regardless of who was playing... The tickets sold out 6 months prior to the event... but nice try.

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eurocardriver000 August 10 2014 at 9:31 PM

This was a GREAT PGA this year, and YES.... without Eldrick !!!!!!

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CW August 10 2014 at 10:12 PM

What a great day of golf! I couldn't leave the TV ... thought I might miss something, as it was exciting the entire day! Loved the camaraderie between classy guys! (Didn't have to experience the antics of Tiger cussing and throwing clubs.) The hugh gallery was amazing!

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Joan August 11 2014 at 3:11 AM

It was a great tournament, with many great players who played excellent and competitive golf. Of course, Wood's fans will never admit that. For those whining about the fact that an American didn't win, don't think the golf ball and the club have an ethnicity to them. Great golf, Rory and especially to Phil, who came right up that leaderboard with class and style.

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1 reply
Randy Joan August 11 2014 at 8:45 AM

I don't know about your conjecture... I'm a Tiger fan, a Rory, fan and a Phil fan... no matter the health, confidence or circumstances only one guy can win any tournament... but then again, golf fans like to watch the excellence of the pros who play the game... whether its a guy from Northern Ireland or a guy from Franklin Kentucky (Kenny Perry).

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jbroskoski3 August 10 2014 at 11:07 PM

Rory has a better chance at beating Jack's record than Tiger does...

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oldschool August 10 2014 at 10:00 PM

What a great day for the PGA, many were in contention to win. Great players ! Congratulations to Rory for the big comeback and his success.

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1 reply
tigerlill20 oldschool August 11 2014 at 9:39 AM

I wish that anyone but Rory won, the kid has a large attitude problem.

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Tammy August 10 2014 at 9:22 PM

I thought this weekend's tournament one of the best in a long time. No run away winner; everyone more or less bunched together and it was anyone's win. Mickelson got robbed on that one show that led to the bogey but he had other chances. All in all fantastic round for everyone!

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