Rory McIlroy continued his improbable streak Sunday, winning the 2014 PGA Championship by one stroke over a surging Phil Mickelson. It marked the third straight tournament win and the second consecutive major victory for the world's No. 1 golfer.
Soft conditions at Valhalla provided optimal scoring opportunities for the field, as plush greens allowed players to take dead aim at pin positions and rack up some low numbers. To put the scoring frenzy into perspective, 19 of the tournament's top 23 finishers shot sub-70 rounds Sunday.
Here's how the final leaderboard looks in the wake of the prestigious event:
With yet another victory, McIlroy's lead as the world's top-ranked golfer increases. However, the PGA Championship's results brought about some changes in the world's top 10. Here's a look at the current ranking—you'll notice one prominent name is absent:
Woods has been dealing with swing issues since returning from back surgery earlier in the year. The world's No. 11 golfer has put up abysmal numbers over his past several tournaments. Here's a look at his recent results:
|Quicken Loans National||MC||5th|
|The Open Championship||69th||9th|
ESPN Stats & Info relayed a telling statistic regarding Woods' struggles:
Tiger Woods: 3 birdies this week; matches his fewest combined birdies and eagles in a major (as professional or amateur)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 8, 2014
While Woods continues to falter, McIlroy has become golf's most dominant player.
After four consecutive sub-70 rounds at Valhalla, McIlroy hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy for the second time in his young career—he won the tournament in 2012 as well.
Here's a great look at his winning putt and celebration, courtesy of PGA Tour:
The victory puts McIlroy in some elite company, via Numbers Never Lie:
This hot streak has entrenched McIlroy in the limelight, as many fans and members of the media are clamoring for a changing of the guard as the face of golf—out with Tiger and in with Rory.
ESPN summed it up with this tweet:
We are entering a new era in golf: The Rory McIlroy era. pic.twitter.com/RGE4jW5ViI— ESPN (@espn) August 11, 2014
Even though McIlroy has surged to the top, we can't discount the stellar play of Mickelson.
Lefty's surge on Sunday awarded him a tie atop the leaderboard for a short while. Unfortunately, he faltered with a late-round bogey—the stroke that would eventually mark the difference between first and second place.
Still, this was the best Mickelson looked in quite some time, as we have seen him struggle through a roller-coaster season. It was great to see the fan favorite climb back into contention, and ESPN's Mike Greenberg put it perfectly:
The presence of Phil Mickelson, more than anything else, made this a special day for golf.— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) August 11, 2014
Mickelson was encouraged by his inspiring performance, and KPMG relayed one of his comments after his Sunday round:
"I feel like I'm a lot closer to great play than I've showed this year. This is just a glimpse of what I know I can do." - PM #PGAChamp— KPMG Mickelson (@MickelsonHat) August 11, 2014
While the year's final major is now in the rearview mirror, plenty of exciting tournaments are on the way, including the Wyndham Championship, The Barclays, the Deutsche Bank Championship, the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship.
We've seen some stellar golf in recent weeks, and as the FedEx Cup points continue to accumulate and we creep ever so closer to this year's Ryder Cup, we can expect the world's top players to provide continued breathtaking moments along the way.