On 19 June 2011, McIlroy amazed the golfing world in capturing his first major championship victory at the U.S. Open at Congressional in Bethesda, Maryland. McIlroy's level of play was unrivaled throughout the week, and his dominance of play is evidenced by his 8-stroke margin of victory over 2nd-place finisher Jason Day. McIlroy set several records in his victory, most notably, his 72-hole aggregate score of 268 (16-under) was a new U.S. Open record. The 268 aggregate beat the previous record of 272 held by Jack Nicklaus (Baltusrol, 1980), Lee Janzen (Baltusrol, 1993), Tiger Woods (Pebble Beach, 2000), and Jim Furyk (Olympia Fields, 2003). The 16-under in relation to par beat Tiger Woods' 12 under at Pebble Beach Golf Links in 2000. He became the youngest winner since Bobby Jones in 1923. The victory lifted McIlroy's position in the Official World Golf Ranking to a then career high of number four.
On 20 July, McIlroy won the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool by two strokes over Rickie Fowler and Sergio García. The victory was the player's third major championship of his career, having led the field after each round of the tournament. McIlroy and Tiger Woods are the only golfers to win both The Silver Medal and The Gold Medal at The Open Championship. His third major title having won the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA Championship, McIlroy became the third European to win three different majors and joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as one of three golfers since the first Masters Tournament in 1934 to win three majors by the age of 25.
McIlroy is an Ambassador for UNICEF Ireland and made his first visit to Haiti with UNICEF in June 2011. In 2014, McIlroy was also announced as an official ambassador for PGA Junior League Golf. His great-uncle Joe McIlroy was killed by the Ulster Volunteer Force in a sectarian attack at his east Belfast home in November 1972.
McIlroy started his year on the PGA Tour in good form with five straight top-6 finishes: tied for 4th at the Sentry Tournament of Champions; tied for 5th at the Farmers Insurance Open; tied for 4th at the Genesis Open; runner-up finish at the WGC-Mexico Championship; tied for 6th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He subsequently won the Players Championship with a score of −16, becoming just the second British winner of the tournament after Sandy Lyle in 1987. With the win, he also joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players to win four majors and 15 PGA Tour titles before the age of 30.
Rory McIlroy MBE (born 4 May 1989) is a professional golfer from Northern Ireland who is a member of both the European and PGA Tours. He is a former world number one in the Official World Golf Ranking, having spent over 100 weeks in that position during his career. He is a four-time major champion, winning the 2011 U.S Open, 2012 PGA Championship, 2014 Open Championship, and 2014 PGA Championship. Along with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, he is one of three players to win four majors by the age of 25.
At the age of 15, McIlroy was a member of Europe's winning 2004 Junior Ryder Cup team; the event was held in Ohio. In 2005, McIlroy became the youngest-ever winner of both the West of Ireland Championship and the Irish Close Championship. He retained the West of Ireland Championship in 2006 and followed that up with back-to-back wins at the Irish Close Championship. In August 2006, he won the European Amateur at Biella Golf Club, near Milan, Italy, with the score of 274.
In late 2004, at age 15, he signed a letter of intent to play collegiate golf at East Tennessee State University, but after his wins in 2005, he decided to forgo the golf scholarship and continue to play amateur golf in Europe. McIlroy shot a bogey-free opening round of 3-under-par 68 at the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie, his first major championship entry. He shot +5 overall and was the highest finishing amateur, winning the silver medal.
In July 2005, at age 16, McIlroy shot a new competitive course record score of 61 on the Dunluce links of Royal Portrush Golf Club. In October 2006, McIlroy represented Ireland in the Eisenhower Trophy, which is the Amateur World Team Championship. On 6 February 2007, he became the second man to top the World Amateur Golf Ranking, though he lost the top spot after just one week.
McIlroy had a successful amateur career, topping the World Amateur Golf Ranking for one week as a 17-year-old in 2007. Later that year, he turned professional and soon established himself on the European Tour. He had his first win on the European Tour in 2009, and on the PGA Tour in 2010. In 2011 at the age of 22, he became the youngest player ever to reach €10 million in career earnings on the European Tour. In 2012, he became the youngest player to reach $10 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour.
McIlroy turned professional on 18 September 2007, the day before the Quinn Direct British Masters. He signed with International Sports Management. At the Quinn Direct British Masters, McIlroy shot 290 (+2), which put him in a tie for 42nd place. He finished in 3rd place at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in October. The next week, he secured his card for 2008 by finishing in a tie for 4th place at the Open de Madrid Valle Romano. He became the youngest Affiliate Member in the history of The European Tour to earn a tour card. On the 2007 European Tour season, he earned €277,255 and finished in 95th place on the Order of Merit list. He was the highest ranked associate member.
McIlroy started his 2008 European Tour season at the UBS Hong Kong Open. He did not make the one-under cut. He entered the top 200 of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time on 27 January 2008. On 7 September 2008, McIlroy took a four-stroke lead into the final round of the Omega European Masters in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland, but finished in a tie for first place with Frenchman Jean-François Lucquin and lost in a play-off.
After finishing second in the UBS Hong Kong Open in November 2008, McIlroy attained his highest world ranking position of 50. He finished the 2008 calendar year at 39th in the world rankings after finishing joint 3rd in the South African Open. This earned him an invitation to the 2009 Masters Tournament. His first professional win came at age 19 when he won the Dubai Desert Classic on 1 February 2009, this win took him to 16th in the world rankings.
McIlroy finished the European Tour season in November 2008 with six top-10 placements and ranked 79th in the World Golf Ranking.
On 17 June, during the second round of the US Open, McIlroy would become the first player in the history of the championship to reach a score of 13-under-par at any point in the tournament. He achieved the feat by making birdie at the 17th hole in the second round. Despite a double bogey on the final hole, his two-day total of 131 (65-66, 11-under-par) set a championship scoring record as the lowest 36-hole total in U.S. Open history. The score was one better than Ricky Barnes' 132 in 2009. He was also the fastest golfer to reach double digits under par in the U.S. Open, reaching 10 under par in 26 holes.
In April 2009, McIlroy made his first Masters Tournament appearance, his first major championship as a professional. He finished the tournament tied for 20th place, two strokes under par for the tournament. Of the players to make the cut, McIlroy achieved the third highest average driving distance, beaten only by Dustin Johnson and Andrés Romero. McIlroy played in two more events on the PGA Tour after the Masters Tournament including his first appearance at The Players Championship, where he missed the cut.
In May 2009, McIlroy described the Ryder Cup as an "exhibition". McIlroy said: "It's not a huge goal of mine. In the big scheme of things it's not that important an event for me. It's an exhibition at the end of the day." McIlroy went on to say: "Golf is an individual sport. You have individual goals and my goals are to win tournaments for myself." European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie responded by saying that the contest "is not an exhibition and it never will be. It's a very unique, special event." The following year, in 2010, McIlroy said that he regretted his earlier comments and said that the Ryder Cup is "definitely not an exhibition".
McIlroy finished the 2009 season ranked second on the Race to Dubai, behind Lee Westwood, and in November he entered the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time. McIlroy finished 2009 ranked 9th in the world. In November 2009, McIlroy announced that he would join the American-based PGA Tour for the 2010 season.
McIlroy has represented Europe, Great Britain & Ireland, and Ireland as both an amateur and a professional. At the Ryder Cup, he played for Europe against the United States in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018, with Europe winning in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2018. For his individual and team achievements he has twice been named RTÉ Sports Person of the Year, in 2011 and 2014.
On 15 July 2010, McIlroy confirmed his status as a favourite for the Open title on the Old Course at St Andrews by shooting a 9-under-par 63 on the opening day, the lowest-ever first round score in the 150-year history of the Open Championship, and tying the course record. He missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the 17th, "The Road Hole", which would have given him the outright record. His tied third finish in the 2010 Open Championship sent him to a career high world ranking of seventh.
McIlroy missed out on a chance to win the 2010 PGA Championship when he three-putted the 15th green to fall out of a tie for the lead. His final-hole birdie putt narrowly missed the hole to leave him one stroke out of the playoff between Bubba Watson and eventual winner Martin Kaymer. McIlroy finished tied for third. On 4 October 2010, McIlroy won a crucial half-point to help Europe regain the Ryder Cup.
In 2014, McIlroy again swept the PGA Tour awards: Arnold Palmer Award (leading money winner), PGA Player of the Year, PGA Tour Player of the Year, Vardon Trophy, and Byron Nelson Award. He also won the Race to Dubai and was voted the European Tour Golfer of the Year. He again won the Mark H. McCormack Award for leading the Official World Golf Ranking for the most weeks in the year (22 of 52 weeks). He was awarded the RTÉ Sports Person of the Year for the second time, previously winning in 2011, and the BBC Northern Ireland Sports Personality of the Year for the third time after victories in 2011 and 2012. He also came 2nd in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, behind Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton. In 2015 McIlroy was shortlisted for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year. In 2015, McIlroy won European Tour Golfer of the Year for the third time (2012, 2014).
McIlroy left ISM in 2011, with McIlroy joining Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management. Michael Bannon has been working with McIlroy since the players childhood, going full-time with McIlroy in 2012.
On 9 June 2019, McIlroy won the RBC Canadian Open by 7 strokes in Hamilton, Ontario. He shot a final round 61 to win the tournament. He became the sixth golfer to win the career Triple Crown (possessing the PGA Tour's three oldest events by winning the three national championship, The Open in 2014, the U.S. Open in 2011, and the Canadian Open).
In May 2011, McIlroy was mildly criticised by Phil Mickelson and Brandel Chamblee for skipping The Players Championship. The skip was controversial because 48 of the top 50 in the world participated in it, the other golfer skipping being Lee Westwood.
On 17 July 2011, following a poor showing over the weekend in the 2011 Open Championship, McIlroy told the media that he was "not a fan of golf tournaments that are predicted so much by the weather," and saying he would rather "wait for a year when the weather is nice" instead of tuning his game to prepare for the Open Championship. He also added that he would "rather play when it's 80 degrees and sunny and not much wind".
On 28 July 2011, after being criticised on air by commentator Jay Townsend about McIlroy's questionable course management skills during the first round of the Irish Open, McIlroy wrote on Twitter telling Townsend to "shut up" and saying Townsend is a "failed golfer" and that "his opinion meant nothing". Later, McIlroy stood by his comments and stated that his comments were made in defense of his caddie J. P. Fitzgerald whom Townsend had been blaming for McIlroy's course management since 2008.
McIlroy took a month off from competitive golf. At The Open Championship he struggled in tough weather over a difficult layout at Royal St George's Golf Club, failing to contend with the conditions. He was again a non-factor at the PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club after injuring his wrist on the 3rd hole of the first round after attempting to play a stroke from behind a tree root. McIlroy went on to win the Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters in a playoff against Anthony Kim. In November, he finished tied for 4th at the WGC-HSBC Champions to move to a then career high of number two in the Official World Golf Ranking. In December 2011, he won the UBS Hong Kong Open by two strokes.
In 2012, besides leading the PGA Tour money list, McIlroy won the PGA Player of the Year, PGA Tour Player of the Year, Vardon Trophy, and Byron Nelson Award. In addition to winning the Race to Dubai, he was voted the European Tour Golfer of the Year. He also won the Mark H. McCormack Award for leading the Official World Golf Ranking for the most weeks in the year (28 of 52 weeks). Also in 2012, he won a Laureus World Sports Award in the category Breakthrough of the Year.
On 18 June 2014, McIlroy declared that he would represent Ireland (if he qualified) at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games, where golf became an Olympic event for the first time since 1904. In 2012 he had expressed an interest in representing Great Britain as opposed to Ireland; however, in January 2013 he was considering the options of playing for Britain or Ireland or not playing at all, stating; "I just think being from where we're from, we're placed in a very difficult position. I feel Northern Irish and obviously being from Northern Ireland you have a connection to Ireland and a connection to the UK. If I could and there was a Northern Irish team I'd play for Northern Ireland. Play for one side or the other – or not play at all because I may upset too many people… Those are my three options I'm considering very carefully", before choosing Ireland in 2014.
On 12 August 2012, McIlroy won the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island (Ocean Course) in South Carolina. McIlroy would win by eight strokes, setting a margin-of-victory record for the PGA Championship with a birdie on the final hole. The record stood since Jack Nicklaus won the 1980 PGA Championship by seven strokes. McIlroy started the final round with a three stroke lead and shot a flawless, bogey-free 66 to run away from the field. At the time, Rory's win at 22 years-old made him the youngest multiple major champion since Seve Ballesteros won the 1980 Masters Tournament. McIlroy's win also regained him the world's number one ranking.
McIlroy lived near the village of Moneyreagh in County Down, about 20 minutes from Belfast. The land around his home included a custom-made practice facility and a scaled-down football pitch. In September 2012, the house was put up for sale for a price of £2 million. In December 2012, McIlroy purchased a $10 million property in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, located close to Jack Nicklaus' The Bear's Club.
McIlroy has been cited as the most exciting young prospect in golf and as having the potential to become one of the highest earners in sports in terms of endorsements. In 2013 SportsPro rated him the third-most marketable athlete in the world (after Neymar and Lionel Messi). In January 2013 he signed a large endorsement deal with Nike, with wide speculation on its terms. Initial rumours of a 10-year/$250 million accord ratcheted down to a more likely $100 million deal of an undetermined length. In 2017, McIlroy signed a 10-year, $200 million contract extension with Nike for apparel only after Nike exited the golf equipment business, allowing him to additionally sign a 10-year, $100 million equipment deal with TaylorMade to use their clubs, ball, and bag.
In February 2013, McIlroy was criticised for withdrawing from the 2013 Honda Classic, citing tooth pain. Critics claimed that tooth pain was not the issue, and that McIlroy, the world number one at the time, was having difficulty adjusting to new equipment, and that he should have finished the tournament. Regarding his withdrawal, McIlroy stated, "this is one of my favourite tournaments of the year and I regret having to make the decision to withdraw, but it was one I had to make."
McIlroy dated Danish tennis professional Caroline Wozniacki from 2011 to 2014. They became engaged on 31 December 2013. On 21 May 2014, it was announced that McIlroy had ended the engagement: "The problem is mine. The wedding invitations issued at the weekend made me realise that I wasn't ready for all that marriage entails. I wish Caroline all the happiness she deserves and thank her for the great times we've had." Wozniacki later stated that McIlroy had ended the relationship through a brief phone call, and had not contacted her since.
McIlroy plays the sport in his spare time. He injured ankle ligaments in 2015 while playing football with friends which forced him to miss the 2015 Open Championship, but later stated he would not give up playing football.
McIlroy started dating a former PGA of America employee, Erica Stoll, in 2015. In December 2015, they became engaged while on holiday in Paris. They married in April 2017 at Ashford Castle in Cong, County Mayo.
McIlroy was an ambassador for Jumeirah group from 2007 to 2012. McIlroy is the namesake for EA Sports' video game Rory McIlroy PGA Tour, replacing Tiger Woods, who had been the previous namesake for the series from 1998 to 2013. EA (Electronic Arts) transitioned from Tiger Woods to Rory McIlroy after he became the world's number one golfer in 2015.
According to the 2017 Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid athletes, McIlroy was the joint sixth highest paid sportsperson that year, having earned US$50 million, of which $34 million came from endorsements. McIlroy created a new company, Rory McIlroy Inc, in March 2015. The new company, headed by Donal Casey, manages the royalty payments from his various endorsements.
In March 2015, McIlroy threw a club into the water at the WGC-Cadillac Championship after hitting his ball into the water on the par-5 eighth hole during the second round at Doral. McIlroy subsequently apologised for throwing the club saying: "It felt good at the time but now I regret it. Frustration got the better of me."
In May, McIlroy claimed his first victory of the year at his home Irish Open – a tournament hosted by the Rory Foundation. He finished three strokes clear of Russell Knox and Bradley Dredge and subsequently gave the €666,000 winner's cheque to charity. On 5 September, he won the Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton, Massachusetts (near Boston). He finished two shots clear of Paul Casey. He produced a near flawless final round of 65 to win for the first time on the PGA Tour in 2016 at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
McIlroy returned after more than 100 days away at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in late January. Prior to the tournament, McIlroy revealed he has a slight heart irregularity but played down the impact on his golf. McIlroy finished runner-up to Li Haotong in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. He lost out by one stroke, having led by two with five holes to play. It was his 16th runner-up finish on the European Tour and the 22nd runner-up finish of his career. On 18 March 2018, he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a final-round 64, his first win since winning the Tour Championship (and FedEx Cup) in 2016.
On the eve of the Open Championship in 2016, McIlroy said he would not watch the golf tournament at the Olympic Games and would focus on the sports that matter like swimming and track & field having previously withdrawn from representing Ireland in the games due to the threat of the Zika virus in Brazil. Following the tournament, McIlroy went on to admit his surprise at how successful it had been, and that he had been wrong to dismiss it.
In February 2018, McIlroy appeared on an episode of Amazon Prime show The Grand Tour, racing against Paris Hilton in the 'Celebrity Face-Off' segment of the show.
In September 2018, McIlroy qualified for the European team participating in the 2018 Ryder Cup. Team Europe beat Team U.S.A. 17 1/2 to 10 1/2 at Le Golf National outside of Paris, France.
In 2019, McIlroy won the PGA Tour Player of the Year award for the third time (2012, 2014).
In May 2019, McIlroy outlined his intention to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games, representing Ireland.
On 25 August 2019, McIlroy clinched his second season-long FedEx Cup by winning the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. The winning payout was $15 million, the largest in golf history. He became the second player to win multiple FedEx Cups. Following his FedEx Cup victory, McIlroy was named the 2018–19 PGA Tour Player of the Year. It was the third time in his career he had won the Jack Nicklaus award.
On 3 November 2019, McIlroy won the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in a playoff against Xander Schauffele. The event was held outside of Shanghai, China. This event was part of the 2019 European Tour and the 2019–20 PGA Tour. On 10 December 2019, McIlroy informed that he would miss the European Tour's Saudi International tournament in Riyadh and stated morality issues in going to the nation. "One hundred percent, there's a morality to it as well," the players statement read.
Results not in chronological order in 2020.
On 9 February, McIlroy gained the world number one ranking from Brooks Koepka. On 17 May 2020, McIlroy, alongside Dustin Johnson, secured a win in a charity skins game played on nearest-the-pin shot rule, as golf returned to the television after nine weeks. The duo ended up winning £1.53 million for coronavirus relief funds. On 20 July, Jon Rahm overtook McIlroy to become the number one in the Official World Golf Ranking.