Perhaps it’s appropriate that Rory McIlroy has curly hair, for like the little girl with the curl, when McIlory is good, he is very, very good. And at the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, McIlroy was every bit of very, very good.
McIlroy’s 17-under 271 total at Royal Liverpool was the fourth-lowest total in relation to par in the history of the Open Championship, and he needed an eagle on the final hole to match Tiger Woods for the best score in relation to par in major-championship history. Woods shot 19 under at the 2000 Open Championship at St. Andrews. With his par on the final hole, McIlroy’s total marks the 10th time since 1990 that a player has finished at 17-under or better in a major.
The lowest winning scores at the Open Championship in relation to par
|19 under||Tiger Woods||2000||St. Andrews|
|18 under||Tiger Woods||2006||Royal Liverpool|
|18 under||Nick Faldo||1990||St. Andrews|
|17 under||Rory McIlroy||2014||Royal Liverpool|
|16 under||Louis Oosthuizen||2010||St. Andrews|
Lowest score in relation to par in a major championship since 1990
|19 under||Tiger Woods||2000 Open Championship|
|18 under||Tiger Woods||2006 Open Championship|
|18 under||Tiger Woods
||2006 PGA Championship|
|18 under||Tiger Woods||2000 PGA Championship|
|18 under||Bob May||2000 PGA Championship|
|18 under||Tiger Woods||1997 Masters|
|18 under||Nick Faldo||1990 Open Championship|
|17 under||Rory McIlroy||2014 Open Championshp|
|17 under||Steve Elkington||1995 PGA Championship|
|17 under||Colin Montgomerie||1995 PGA Championship|
McIlroy’s victory comes on the heels of Martin Kaymer’s rout at the U.S. Open. Kaymer led for all four rounds at Pinehurst. Prior to McIlroy, the last wire-to-wire winner at the British Open (with no ties) was Tiger Woods in 2005.
Open Champions with wire-to-wire victories (no ties)
It is the first time since 1903 that the U.S. and British Open had wire-to-wire winners in the same year. Although in 1903, when Willie Anderson won the U.S. Open and Harry Vardon won the Open Championship, Vardon was not the sole leader all four days, having shared the opening-round lead with Sandy Herd.
McIlroy also ran the table at the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional, and this marks the second time he led a major at the end of every round, joining Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Raymond Floyd as the only players to do that more than once.
McIlroy with the 54-hole lead at PGA Tour events
|2014 Open Championship||Won|
|2014 Honda Classic||Lost playoff|
|2012 PGA Championship||Won|
|2012 Honda Classic||Won|
|2011 U.S. Open||Won|
McIlroy dominated on the par-5 holes at Royal Liverpool, especially on Saturday when he made eagle on the 16th and 18th holes to take what became an insurmountable lead of six strokes into Sunday’s final round. For the week, McIlroy was one of four players to shoot 12 under on the par-5 holes.
Scoring leaders on the par-5s at the Open Championship
|Player||Scoring on par 5s|
|Rory McIlroy||12 under|
|Paul Casey||12 under|
|Francesco Molinari||12 under|
|Victor Dubuisson||12 under|
Long-term, it won’t soon be forgotten how well Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler played at the Open Championship. Their 15-under 273 totals would have been good enough to win all but three Opens since 2000. Fowler, who also finished T-2 in the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, is the only player to finish in the top five of all three majors in 2014. He’s the sixth player to do that since 1990. Fowler and Ernie Els in 2000 are the only players to finish in the two at both Opens in the same year since 1980.
Players who were in the top five at the Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship since 1990
|Year||Player||Masters||U.S. Open||Open Championship|
Fowler is also one of three players to finish in the top 15 in this year’s first three major championships.
Players with top-15 finishes in all three majors in 2014
|Player||Masters||U.S. Open||British Open|
Garcia was second in a major championship for the fourth time, but he looks more confident than he has at any time since he first finished second to Tiger Woods at the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah, when he scissor-kicked his way up the leaderboard. Along the way he became downcast as the defeats, most notably in his playoff loss to Padraig Harrington at the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie, took their toll. After a third-round 75 at the 2012 Masters took him out of contention, a frustrated Garcia told Spanish reporters he’s “not good enough ... I don't have the thing I need to have,” to win majors. That appears to have changed, as Garcia's confidence has grown as he has matured. The T-2 at Liverpool was Garcia’s sixth top-three in a major, only Lee Westwood has more top-three finishes at majors without winning.
Most top-threes at major championships without winning