US PGA champion Rory McIlroy motivated by criticism of form
Rory McIlroy said winning the US PGA Championship - his second major - was a satisfying snub to his critics.
The 23-year-old's six-under 66 earned a record eight-shot win at Kiawah Island and a return to world number one.
However, a run of four missed cuts in five events this year and scrutiny over his private life prompted questions over where his career was headed.
"To be honest, it did motivate me," admitted McIlroy. "I did want to go out there and prove a few people wrong."
The Northern Irishman became the second youngest player to reach the top of the world rankings in March of this year but then swapped the position with England's Luke Donald a couple of times through April and May.
Youngest double major winners
- Young Tom Morris (Sco): Won second Open Championship in 1869 at age of 18
- John McDermott (US): Won second US Open in 1912 at age of 20
- Gene Sarazen (US): Won US PGA Championship in 1922 at age of 20 years, 5 months
- Seve Ballesteros (Spa):Won Masters in 1980 at age of 23
- Rory McIlroy (NI): Won US PGA Championship in 2012 at age of 23 years, 3 months
After taking the number one ranking for a third time on 6 May, McIlroy embarked on a run of four missed cuts in five events, including the US Open where he was the defending champion.
Critics have also speculated that his relationship with former world number one tennis player Caroline Wozniacki has been a distraction for his sporting ambitions.
However, McIlroy told a packed press conference in the wake of his victory in South Carolina: "I was a little frustrated with how I was playing earlier on in the year but a few people in this [media] room were probably pressing panic buttons for no reason.
"I don't think I could have answered it in any better way.
"It took me all of four weeks to get my game back in shape and get out of my mini slump - and this is the result."
McIlroy became the youngest man to win two majors since Spain's Seve Ballesteros won the Masters, also at the age of 23, in 1980.
His eight-shot margin of victory is a new record, surpassing Jack Nicklaus's seven-stroke victory at Oak Hill in 1980.
In addition, the Northern Irishman is now a multiple major winner at a younger age than Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, who was four months older than McIlroy when he won his second major.
"I don't care if I win by one or by eight - I just want to win - but it's nice to break a record like that, especially of Jack Nicklaus," he said.
"To sit up here and see this trophy and call myself a multiple major champion... not many people have done it and I'm very privileged to join such an elite list of names."
- Born: 4 May 1989
- 2005: Plays first European pro tour event at 16
- 2007: Makes European Tour cut for first time
- 2007: Leading amateur at Open
- 2007: McIlroy turns pro
- 2009: Wins first pro title
- 2009: Plays his first major as pro - Masters
- 2009: Finishes tied third at US PGA
- 2010: Wins first PGA title
- 2011: Wins first major - US Open
- 2012: Wins US PGA
The surprise of the Championship was Stoke-based golfer David Lynn, who finished alone in second place on five under.
The 38-year-old, who has only played in one other major, the 2003 Open where he finished 53rd, was rewarded with an automatic berth in the 2013 Masters.
"To get in is just a dream come true, obviously - amazing," he said.
"I saw Rory at 11 [under] and I thought he's not going to mess up from there. It was just a case of playing for as good a position as I could."
Fellow Englishman Ian Poulter mounted a serious challenge when he holed six birdies in seven holes. But his hopes of winning a first major disappeared with three bogeys on 13, 14 and 15.
"I guess it was a dream start. I guess I pushed him [Rory] and I guess I ran out of steam at the end," said the 36-year-old from Hitchin.
"It was a great day. It's just a shame I couldn't quite finish it off."
Four-time US PGA winner Woods started the day on two under and finished the day on the same score, having never really threatened the lead. He laid the blame on his third round of 74.
"I came out with probably the wrong attitude [on Saturday]. I was too relaxed and tried to enjoy it and that's not how I play," said the 36-year-old for.
"I play intense and full systems go. That cost me."