KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Right down to his red shirt, Rory McIlroy looked every bit the part of golf's next star in another command performance at the PGA Championship.
McIlroy validated his record-setting U.S. Open win last year by blowing away the field Sunday at Kiawah Island. One last birdie from 25 feet on the 18th hole gave him a 6-under 66 for an eight-shot victory, breaking the PGA Championship record for margin of victory that Jack Nicklaus set in 1980.
The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland returned to No. 1 in the world, and he became the youngest player since Seve Ballesteros to win two majors. Tiger Woods was about four months older than McIlroy when he won his second major.
Just like the U.S. Open, this one was never seriously in doubt.
McIlroy seized control with back-to-back birdies Sunday morning to complete the storm-delayed third round with a 67 and build a three-shot lead. No one got closer than two shots the rest of the way, and McIlroy closed out a remarkable week by playing bogey-free over the final 23 holes of a demanding Ocean Course.
David Lynn, a 38-year-old from England who was playing in America for the first time, won the B-flight. He closed with a 68 and was the runner-up.
Woods, who shared the 36-hole lead for the second time this year in a major, was never a serious factor. He tossed away his chances Saturday before the storm blew in and never could get closer than four shots. He closed with a 72.
If there was a signature shot for McIlroy at Kiawah Island, it might have been on Saturday when his tee shot lodged into a tree on the third hole. He only found it with help from the TV crew, took his penalty shot and fired a wedge into 6 feet to save par. He was on his way, and he never let up.
McIlroy also won the U.S. Open by eight shots, the kind of dominance that Woods has displayed over so many years.
By winning the PGA Championship, he is halfway home to the career Grand Slam.
"It was a great round of golf. I'm speechless," said McIlroy after hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy, the heaviest of the four majors. "It's just been incredible. I had a good feeling about it at the start. I never imagined to do this."
Winning the final major the year ends what had been a tumultuous season for McIlroy. Despite winning the Honda Classic in early March, he went into a tail spin by missing four cuts over five tournaments, as questions swirled that his romance with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki was hurting his game.
Instead, McIlroy put a big hurt on the strongest field of the year.