British Open 2014: Final Scores and Reactions to End-of-Day 4 Leaderboard

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2014

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays a shot off the 14th tee during the final round of the British Open Golf championship at the Royal Liverpool golf club, Hoylake, England, Sunday July 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Peter Morrison/Associated Press

Take a bow, Rory McIlroy.

The Northern Irishman won the 2014 British Open with an astounding score of 17-under, holding off final-day charges from Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler.

His final-round score of 71 made things interesting throughout the day, but in the end there was no confidence-shattering collapse to be had for McIlroy. He has now won three different majors before the age of 26, joining Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only other golfers to do so.

McIlroy also stood to make his father quite a hefty chunk of change, via the PGA Tour: 

Sergio Garcia started off the day surging up the leaderboard, notching three birdies on his first six holes of the day to surpass Fowler and close the gap on McIlroy.

McIlroy got himself into a bit of trouble on the par-five No. 5 hole. His errant second shot hit the grandstand and forced him to make a drop. He did have a chance to save par, but his putt went just wide and he bogeyed the hole.

He then missed a five-foot putt for par on the next hole, bogeying that one as well to drop to 15 under. As ESPN Stats & Info noted, the chase was on:

Or so everyone thought. McIlroy buckled down over the back nine, notching birdies on the 10th and 16th holes to solidify his score and finish at an astounding 17 under.

Garcia is yet to win a major, but he could have hardly played better than his final-round score of 66 on Sunday. Fifteen under would win just about any other tournament, but not on this day.

Scott Heppell/Associated Press

Fowler's final-round 67 was truly excellent and four strokes better than McIlroy, who was his playing partner on the day. He's looking to become a fixture in majors and showed plenty of promise with the way he handled the pressure on Sunday.'s Justin Ray provides the key stat:

Woods was the subject of much criticism due to his final-round 75, which left him at five over par for the tournament.

He avoided straightforward answers of some post-round inquiries, per's Jay Coffin:

But he was willing to discuss what went wrong for him in the tournament.

"I got four rounds in," Woods said, via USA Today's Steve DiMeglio. "Unfortunately I didn't play very well today. It was a little different than it was on the first day, obviously. But, again, I just made too many mistakes. I had two triples, two doubles."

He certainly could have done without the No. 2 hole in this tournament. Woods hit three bogeys and a double bogey on that part of the course over his four rounds here.

Jon Super/Associated Press

Tom Watson was an early bright spot, finishing with an incredible final-round score of 68.

CBS Sports' Kyle Porter couldn't help but compare Watson's performance to Woods at one point:

The 64-year-old American will have plenty of the younger golfers evaluating their own games and wondering how in the world he comes up with these results at such an advanced age.

Phil Mickelson, also with no chance in this tournament, shot a 68 on Sunday to finish with a respectable five-under for the tournament. Porter was under the impression that Lefty was really just amusing himself out on the course Sunday:

Mickelson finished with a flourish, notching birdies on two of his last three holes to walk away from the tournament in style.

For McIlroy, it is just a victory at the Masters that eludes him now. Mickelson believes he won't have to wait long for that trophy, via ESPN's Bob Harig:

A victory at the Masters would certainly cement McIlroy's status as one of golf's young greats, although this resounding victory has likely already accomplished that feat. His ability to effortlessly dominate major tournaments should make him an excellent draw on the PGA Tour, while his youth and sage personality will appeal to a wide swath of fans.