A look at Rory McIlroy’s major record as he bids to end wait for fifth title

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McIlroy’s last major triumph came at the 2014 US PGA Championship.
Posted on
July 18, 2023
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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Rory McIlroy will go into this week’s Open Championship with high hopes of ending his long wait for a fifth major championship.

The 2014 champion has won only one major since but a combination of the return to the same Royal Liverpool course and McIlroy’s recent form, in both majors and tour events, has raised hopes this may finally be his time.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at McIlroy’s record.


Current form

Rory McIlroy cradles the Genesis Scottish Open trophy
Rory McIlroy cradles the Genesis Scottish Open trophy (Jane Barlow/PA)

McIlroy cancelled his scheduled Tuesday press conference at Hoylake but will still be the focus of attention as he goes into the Open on the back of a win at the Genesis Scottish Open, his third of the season after the CJ Cup on the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

He also has runner-up finishes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the US Open and has finished in the top 10 in 10 of the 15 events he has played.

They include his last six starts, beginning at the US PGA Championship where he finished tied for seventh.

He matched that at both the Memorial Tournament and the Travelers Championship and was tied ninth at the RBC Canadian Open, in addition to his US Open and Scottish results.

The latter gave him a 32nd career win across the PGA Tour and European Tour, plus the 2013 Australian Open before it became a European Tour event. That tally includes four majors but none since 2014.


Major record

Rory McIlroy displays the Claret Jug at Manchester United's home ground Old Trafford after his 2014 Open win
Rory McIlroy won the Claret Jug in 2014 at Hoylake (Martin Rickett/PA)

When McIlroy won the 2014 US PGA Championship at Valhalla, it was his second successive major and fourth in his last 15 attempts – coming hot on the heels of his Open win and following the 2011 US Open and 2012 US PGA.

He has won none of the 33 he has contested since, with a string of near misses building the frustration.

Aside from missing the cut at this year’s Masters, he has finished in the top eight at the other six majors this season and last – including second place in Los Angeles this year and the 2022 Masters and third in last year’s Open at St Andrews.

In 58 majors in his career he has three second- and four third-place finishes to add to his four wins, with 17 top-five and 29 top-10 placings overall.

The waiting game

Should McIlroy win this or a subsequent major title, it will come after one of the longest waits in golfing history.

Only 10 players have won majors with more time elapsed between them than the eight years and 347 days from McIlroy’s 2014 US PGA win to this Sunday at Hoylake.

Julius Boros holds the record with 11 years and nine days between his US Open wins in 1952 and 1963, with Hale Irwin also winning that event 11 years apart.

Henry Cotton, Ben Crenshaw, Tiger Woods, Lee Trevino and Ernie Els won majors after a decade-long wait, with John Henry Taylor and Bob Martin narrowly exceeding nine years.

Should McIlroy not win this week, any subsequent major would take him past the latter pair to the top eight of the list. Victory this week would place him 11th behind Willie Park Sr’s 1866 and 1875 Open wins.

Those victories tended to mark something of a swansong, with only Boros and Taylor going on to add a further grand slam event afterwards. At 34, though, McIlroy is younger than almost all of those players at the time of their win – Martin was 32, with Taylor (38) the only other under 40.

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