US PGA 2014

4th-10th August

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PGA Championship 2014: Rory McIlroy showed his class at Valhalla, says Butch Harmon

World No.1 secures one-shot victory at final Major of the year

Last Updated: 11/08/14 12:15pm

Mark Roe is joined by Butch Harmon to assess Rory McIlroy's impressive display at Valhalla.

Rory McIlroy demonstrated why he is the best player in the world with his dramatic PGA Championship win, says Butch Harmon.

After heading into Sunday with a one-shot lead, McIlroy bogeyed twice in the first six holes to surrender his advantage but battled back to overhaul Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler to clinch the fourth Major of his career and second in a row, following his success at the Open Championship last month.

Harmon, who coaches Mickelson and Fowler, said McIlroy’s rivals could have few complaints about the outcome after the Northern Irishman stormed down the back nine, with an eagle at 10 setting him on course for his second PGA crown.

"In the end the best player in the world won the PGA Championship."
Butch Harmon

“We saw the best player in the world show us again why he’s the best player in the world,” Harmon told Sky Sports. "He went out and won this thing. Nobody gave it to him. He had to go and get it.

“The guys jumped out in front of him and they were playing great golf. Mickelson was there all day, Fowler was there all day. But in the end the best player in the world won the PGA Championship.”

Class

The victory makes McIlroy the first player since Padraig Harrington in 2008 to win back-to-back Majors and the third youngest, after Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, to win four Majors.

Given the 25-year-old’s disastrous 2013 on the course and well-documented break up from fiancée Caroline Wozniacki in May, Harmon credited McIlroy’s resolve to bounce back and complete a three-tournament sweep, which also included the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

“He is great for golf,” said Harmon.

“We’re seeing a young man who hasn’t only grown up as a golfer, he’s grown up as a person. He has a tremendous amount of class, he knows how to act, he knows how to say the right things and he is an unbelievable champion.

“He’s got a great team around him. When all this stuff tumbled around him, he said ‘I’m going to be the leader of my ship’ - and wow, is he ever. This is the future of our game, right now.

“I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of Rory and how he handled it because he got behind there and all of a sudden things weren’t going very good. Things just fell into place.

"Why? Because he made them fall into place. He stood there and watched what the leaders were doing and got it in gear. When you get on a winning streak you want to keep going and Rory is on the winning streak of winning streaks.”

Secret

Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley also praised McIlroy’s tenacity and says the champion’s focus is key to his recent run of fine form.

“We’ve been using the word all week: resilience,” said McGinley, when summing up McIlroy’s performance.

“He had the lead, he lost the lead but even though he went a number of shots behind he was able to step up to the plate when he really needed to and pull away again.

"That’s a gift that very few people have, so all credit to him.

"It’s great for Rory, great for Europe, great for the European Tour and long may it continue with him.

"He’s very focused at the moment, he’s got a great attitude at the moment and whatever he has bottle it, Rory because that’s the secret!

“He really is a class act. This is great for the game of golf.”