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The achievements of Rory McIlroy since his victory at the 2014 PGA

Rory and the most extraordinary failure of all time

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Rory McIlroy. © Golffile | Thos Caffrey
Rory McIlroy. © Golffile | Thos Caffrey

In the days leading up to a Major, whichever one it may be, there is a question that becomes more and more pressing as the years go by: When will Rory McIlroy win one again? The week of the Masters, even more so, as it is the one he is missing to complete the Grand Slam, but in general, no matter which one is next, we are always dealing with the same thing: will this be the week when Rory will win a Major again?

On this occasion, we also find ourselves in the days leading up to a PGA Championship that is being held on the same course where Rory last won a major, Valhalla Golf Club, back in August 2014. So this crossroads increases interest in the question even more, even the intrigue.

To top it off, the fact that Rory won the Wells Fargo yesterday, a real Signature Event, and also claimed victory in his previous appearance at the Zurich Classic, alongside Shane Lowry, multiplies expectations to infinity. The Northern Irishman is aware and does not try to cool the issue, among other things because he knows it would be of no use. Yesterday, in the press conference he gave as the newly crowned winner of the Wells Fargo, he said: “I am a better player now than when I won the PGA at Valhalla ten years ago. The only thing that has happened is that I have not won more Majors since then, but there are other victories and other achievements in this time. I have done everything I had to do as a player since 2014. The only thing I need is to win another Major. And, look, a victory like this at the Wells Fargo in the week leading up to the PGA is a good way to prepare for it.”

We are left with a specific sentence from his statements: “I have done everything I had to do as a player since 2014”. And we do so precisely because there is a legitimate current of opinion that actually does not see it the same way. Simply put, there are those who think that Rory‘s career is not full, it is not what it should be, or what it pointed to, because he has almost ten years without winning a Major. It is the weight of the purple, the yardstick by which the greatest are measured, agreed, but is it fair to consider it this way? More or less, everyone knows that Rory’s successes in these ten years, since he won that PGA at Valhalla in August 2014, have been multiple and varied, but it is not the same to have a vague idea, even a very approximate idea, than to see it printed in black and white. Try it, especially if you are one of those who understand that Rory’s career is limping after more than 16 years of constant presence in the front line of world golf.

These are the powers and fundamental achievements of Rory McIlroy since that August 2014:

In this time the Northern Irishman has played 35 Majors and has added a total of twenty top tens, more than anyone else in the same period. Obviously, we have a guy like Brooks Koepka who since August 2014 has won five Majors, has finished second on four occasions and 17 times in the top ten. And others like Jordan Spieth, with three wins; or Dustih Johnson, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and Scottie Scheffler, with two victories each. But it is clear that Rory was not idle, from failure to failure, when in this time he finished among the top ten almost sixty percent of the time (20/35).

In these almost ten years Rory has won 14 tournaments from the regular PGA Tour calendar, among which the THE PLAYERS of 2019 should be highlighted.

He has also won since August 2014 two world championships (the WGC Cadillac Match Play in 2015 and the WGC HSBC in 2019).

He has also won six tournaments from the regular DP World Tour calendar and one more tournament that belongs to both calendars, PGA Tour and DP World Tour, the Scottish Open of 2023.

In total, therefore, he adds 23 victories in these almost ten years, a figure that no one comes close to in the same period.

Pay attention to the fact: in these almost ten years Rory has won the final ranking of the two most important circuits in the world on six occasions. He won the Race to Dubai of the European circuit three times (2014, 2015 and 2022) and the Fedex Cup of the PGA Tour three times (2016, 2019 and 2022). As you can see, in 2022 he did the double, an honorary title that very few players possess. In other words: since he won that PGA in August 2014 he alone has scored almost a third of the total (6/20) of the final victories in the two most important rankings in the world.

Needless to say, in this period Rory has played all editions of the Ryder Cup (2014, 2016, 2018, 2021 and 2023).

And last but not least, let’s also point out that 507 weeks have passed since Rory won that PGA at Valhalla in 2014 and that in a total of two hundred he has been Number One (82 weeks) or Number 2 in the world (118 weeks). In fact, of these 507 weeks that have passed Rory has been in the top ten in the world in 476 of them, or in other words, only in 31 weeks he has been out of the top ten. What’s more, you can go further: in these almost ten years his worst position in the world ranking has been Number 16… where he stayed only one week.

Given all this, there may still be those who consider that Rory has not lived up to expectations, or not the ones expected of him. Maybe one of them is Rory himself… He wouldn’t be the first player to say “life and golf don’t end with the Majors”; however, he pointed out yesterday: “the only thing I need is to win another Major”.

It doesn’t seem, truth be told, that McIlroy goes through life frustrated and even accepts the challenge of this week with curiosity and some humour: “It’s very funny because when I won at Valhalla in 2014 I had just won in my two previous appearances, which is exactly the same situation I arrive at Valhalla now… So I just have to try to replicate what I did in 2014, try to do it again”.

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