Belfast Telegraph

Euro star Rory McIlroy now part of a very elite band

Rory McIlroy’s victory makes him the newest member of a very small and elite club — European winners of the USPGA.

The 94th USPGA Championship, held this year at Kiawah Island in South Carolina, is the last Major of the season — and traditionally it has been one of the least happy hunting grounds for European golfers.

In 2008 Padraig Harrington became the first European in 78 years to win the high-profile major.

The last was Tommy Armour way back in the matchplay era of 1930.

The USPGA win by Armour — known as the Silver Scot — was overshadowed by Bobby Jones' Grand Slam, and Armour seems to have been somewhat overlooked.

He has also been claimed by the US, where he settled and became a citizen.

A little Stars And Stripes flies beside his name on the list of winners on Wikipedia.

Since Harrington’s famous victory, the only other European to take the title has been Martin Kaymer in 2010.

At 23, Rory isn’t the youngest winner. That honour lies with Gene Sarazen, who was just 20 when he won in 1922.

The annual tournament conducted by the Professional Golfers Association of America is nicknamed Glory's Last Shot, as it is the last of the season.

It also carries a multi-million dollar purse. Keegan Bradley, who won last year, took home $1.4m (£890,000) out of a total purse of $8m (£5.1m).

Winning the competition should make Rory’s career path even smoother, as the title confers special privileges — PGA champions are automatically invited to play in the other three Majors (US Masters, US Open, and the Open Championship) for the next five years.

They are also exempt from qualifying for the PGA Championship for life.

They also receive membership on the PGA and European Tours for the following five seasons and invitations to The Players Championship for five years.

Belfast Telegraph

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