Rory McIlroy Profile
|Born||May 04, 1989|
|Birthplace||Holywood, Northern Ireland|
McIlroy is a former world number one and four-time Major champion. He is just one of three players to win four Majors by the age of 25, but is still searching for that all elusive Masters crown.
Rory McIlroy describes his ascent to golfing superstardom as an organic process borne out of a childhood obsession with the sport.
McIlroy famously had only had one coach throughout his entire career and indeed virtually his entire golfing journey.
His father Gerry connected Rory with Michael Bannon, then a club professional in McIlroy's hometown of Holywood. The partnership yielded one of the smoothest swings in golf honed through endless hours of practice.
However, with his form flagging in early 2021, McIlroy did join forces with English coach Pete Cowen.
The change prompted quick results: having struggled in his previous four starts, McIlroy claimed a third win at Quail Hollow in the 2021 Wells Fargo Championship.
McIlroy is part of an elite club of players to have spent more than 100 weeks at the top of the Official World Golf Rankings.
The Masters is the only major to elude McIlroy, who collected a US Open title in 2011, won the PGA Championship in 2012, and claimed both The Open Championship and the PGA Championship in 2014.
McIlroy is one of just three players to have won four Majors by the age of 25 alongside golfing gods Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
Less than two years after turning professional, McIlroy became the youngest man to top €10million ($12m) in career earnings on the European Tour.
McIlroy has been part of four Ryder Cup-winning efforts, representing Europe five times since his 2010 debut.
Never shy about sharing his opinion, McIlroy has talked his way into trouble on more than one occasion, first disrespecting the Ryder Cup by describing it as an 'exhibition' and later firing insults at commentators when criticized.
His withdrawal from the 2016 Olympics over fears regarding the Zika virus in Brazil didn't raise too many eyebrows, but his later comments that he wouldn't even watch the tournament on TV didn't go down well.
His path to stardom
McIlroy took up golf from an early age and soon began winning tournaments, including the World Under-10 Championships at the age of nine.
His amateur career was confined to his teenage years, but it was littered with achievements. In 2005, McIlroy won both the West of Ireland Championship and the Irish Close Championship, becoming the youngest person ever to hold those titles.
He represented Ireland in the Eisenhower Trophy in 2006 and topped the World Amateur Golf Rankings the following year.
McIlroy had agreed to play collegiate golf at East Tennessee State University when he was just 15 years old but opted to remain in Europe after his Irish triumphs in 2005.
He set a new competitive course record during the North of Ireland Amateur Open by carding an 11-under-par 61. McIlroy's score was the best-ever carded on the course before significant alterations were made for the 2019 Open Championship.
As a 16-year-old, McIlroy made his European Tour debut in the 2005 British Masters.
In 2007, buoyed by making the cut on the European Tour for the first time at the Dubai Desert Classic and claiming The Silver Medal as the leading amateur at The Open Championship at Carnoustie, McIlroy turned professional.
The Tour was calling
McIlroy became the youngest man to secure his European Tour card after a fourth-place finish at the Open de Madrid Valle Romano, and by the end of the 2008 European Tour season, he was the highest-ranked associate member.
McIlroy spent his first year as a professional on the European Tour without a win but he was steadily improving. In 2009, he settled into remarkable consistency, making the cut in 24 of the 25 tournaments he entered and earning his first European Tour victory.
At the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic, McIlroy held off a late charge from Justin Rose to claim his first professional tournament success. The triumph catapulted him to 16th in the world rankings, and he went on to finish second on the European Tour's Order of Merit that season.
McIlroy would finish 2009 ranked ninth in the world and after wrapping up his second full season on the European Tour, the Ulsterman announced that he would be crossing the pond to join the PGA Tour in 2010.
It didn't take him long to make an impression on the PGA Tour as he claimed his first victory in the United States in May 2010 after shooting a final round 62 to secure the Quail Hollow Championship.
From zero to hero
McIlroy's 2011 season will be remembered for his contrasting fortunes at two of the year's Majors.
At the Masters, McIlroy appeared to be well on course for a first Major win when heading into the last day with a four-stroke lead. His final-round collapse will live forever in golfing infamy and the 80 he carded remains the worst score by a professional golfer leading the Masters going into the Sunday.
That kind of performance might have haunted a lesser player, but McIlroy quickly put it behind him in his very next major. McIlroy dominated the field during the US Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, setting a new record for a 72-hole aggregate at the major. His score of 268 (16-under) gave him victory by eight strokes and helped him establish a raft of new records at the tournament. At the time, he also became the youngest winner of the US Open.
McIlroy then took some time off from competitive golf and wouldn't factor in the year's remaining Majors.
More major triumphs for Wee-Mac
McIlroy missed the cut in the defense of his US Open title and was well off the pace at both the 2012 Masters and the British Open.
His performances at the preceding Majors had lowered expectations, but McIlroy raised the bar with another stellar four-round display at the PGA Championship in South Carolina. He won the event by a record margin of eight strokes to become the youngest multiple Major winner in 32 years. He went on to top both the PGA Tour and European Tour money earners' list in the same season.
That year also marked the first of his Ryder Cup appearances for Europe after he retracted disparaging remarks he had made about the team event.
McIlroy struggled in 2013, with his tribulations attributed to an equipment switch, but he bounced back in 2014 with the best season of his career to date.
He recorded his strongest ever Masters finish after tying for eighth place, but he struggled to fire at the US Open. However, McIlroy had begun to take his preparation for the British Open more seriously, something that paid off at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.
A strong start to the tournament was enough to put McIlroy well on top going into the fourth round and despite the best efforts of Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia, he claimed his third Major title by two strokes. In doing so, he emulated Tiger Woods as the only other man to win both the Silver and Gold Medals at the Open.
His fourth Major win at the subsequent PGA Championship ensured McIlroy had recorded multiple tournament wins on both the European and PGA Tours. He shot an impeccable four rounds at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, but it was a very competitive field and he won by just one stroke over Phil Mickelson, with Fowler and Henrik Stenson just one shot further back.
McIlroy has courted controversy with frequent outbursts on television and social media. He has also irked many in the golfing world with his habit of withdrawing from tournaments with flimsy excuses.
His remarks about the Ryder Cup and British Open weather might have been put down to youth but as he has aged, McIlroy hasn't mellowed much.
McIlroy infamously took on commentator Jay Townsend in 2011 after he received criticism from the television pundit.
Usually composed on the course, McIlroy lost his cool at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in 2015, throwing a club into the water in frustration.
His attitude towards the Olympic Games has also raised eyebrows. He withdrew from the 2016 Games fearing the impact of the Zika virus in Brazil and then repeated his intention to represent the Republic of Ireland at the Tokyo Games instead of Great Britain.
McIlroy, who now lives in Florida, was born in Holywood, Northern Ireland, and raised Roman Catholic. This gives him strong ties to both Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
He has avoided being caught up in any scandals away from the course although McIlroy did raise eyebrows for calling off his planned wedding to former world number one tennis player Caroline Wozniacki in 2014.
McIlroy became involved with former PGA of America employee Erica Stoll in 2015 and they married in April 2017. In September 2020, the couple welcomed daughter Poppy Kennedy McIlroy into the world.
McIlroy's devotion to golf has always been strong, but he also supports numerous teams across different sports. He backs Ulster in Pro14 Rugby and European competitions as well as supporting Northern Ireland's national football team. He also supports Manchester United, which he mentioned while accepting the Claret Jug on Merseyside in 2014 to playful jeers from the crowd.
McIlroy assumed the mantle of golf's most marketable professional during 2013 as Tiger Woods' star waned. At around the same time, he became the title star of the Electronic Arts PGA Tour video game series.
He is in the top ten of all-time leading money winners with over $50 million of prize money banked in his career to date.
Winning the 2019 FedEx Cup gave a massive boost to his earnings and his net worth is now estimated to be in the region of $192 million.
At one point commanding a $2 million appearance fee, McIlroy also has a lucrative equipment sponsorship deal with Nike said to be worth more than $200 million.
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