LA QUINTA, Calif. —
None compared with McIlroy, who pulled away from every over the final two months of the season.
After his eight-shot win at Kiawah, he won the Deutsche Bank Championship after a duel with Louis Oosthuizen, and then won the next playoff event in the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick against a leaderboard that included Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson and Woods.
McIlroy’s other win came earlier in the year, when he held off Woods to win the Honda Classic and go to No. 1 in the world for the first time. McIlroy went to No. 1 three more times during an inconsistent summer until he established himself as the best in golf at the PGA Championship.
“I think everyone knows that my game wasn’t where I wanted it to be through the start of the summer and leading up to the PGA,” McIlroy said on a conference call.
He tied for fifth at Firestone the week before the final major to gain a little more confidence, though he said his expectations were lower than usual for a major considering his summer doldrums. He turned a two-shot deficit into an eight-shot win with a 67-66 weekend at Kiawah, and off he went.
“I didn’t want to let this opportunity pass me because it was a great opportunity to win my second major,” McIlroy said. “And from that I gained a lot of confidence, knowing that I could win my second major. And I went on from there.”
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who introduced McIlroy, was as impressed with his behavior off the course as his skill level inside the ropes.
“He has handled himself in terrific fashion,” Finchem said. “He has been very direct with the media and entertaining to the fans inside and outside the ropes. He is at a very young age already making a very solid contribution to what is the most important asset of the PGA Tour, and that is the image of its players. For that, I thank him.”