McIlroy at height of powers in eye-popping win
Performance at RBC Canadian Open was one of most dominant in last 15 years
June 10, 2019
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Rory McIlroy shoots final-round 61 to win RBC Canadian Open
Rory McIlroy was already in the midst of a great 2019 after nine top-10 finishes, including his landmark win at THE PLAYERS Championship in March. But after his 64-61 weekend north of the border, in which he flirted with 59 and authored a seven-shot victory at the RBC Canadian Open, he could be on the verge of an epic season even by his lofty standards.
Welcome to the Monday Finish, where McIlroy won for the second time this season, racked up his 10th top-10 finish in just 13 starts, and moved to second in the FedExCup.
1. There was something familiar about this one.
Namely, McIlroy’s 16th PGA TOUR title was a lot like his first. In his breakthrough victory, at the 2010 Wells Fargo Championship, McIlroy went 66-62 on the weekend to win.
“How about that Rory McIlroy?” said Phil Mickelson, one of those left in his wake.
This time, McIlroy produced a 64-61 weekend at Hamilton Golf & Country Club. Shane Lowry (67, T2) was among those left shaking his head this time and openly wondering what golf course McIlroy was playing. Even McIlroy himself seemed to be taken aback, arching his eyebrows and smiling at his caddie after one of his more improbable back-nine birdies.
McIlroy is no stranger to the big finish. Since 2010, he has won five times while shooting 65 or better in the final round. Not surprisingly he leads the TOUR in that category.
For more on McIlroy’s victory, click here. [Desk: Please link to Adam’s winner’s column]
2. Rory becoming ‘Open’ specialist
The seven-shot win not only marked the biggest margin of victory on TOUR this season, the victory was also McIlroy’s sixth national Open title, and he became just the sixth player to win the U.S. Open, Open Championship, and the RBC Canadian Open.
Next up: this week’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
“I found a little groove,” he said, “and I want to keep it going.”
3. The new date was a massive hit.
Although it used to be played the week after The Open Championship, the RBC Canadian Open has been moved up and now leads into the U.S. Open.
You could say it’s worked out.
“Part of the reason for playing here was I wanted my game to be in good shape for Pebble Beach, but doesn't mean this tournament doesn't mean anything,” said McIlroy, who is already on board to defend his title next year. “I mean, it's a big event and I think it will only get bigger again because the date on the calendar. I think a lot guys will start to play. Four of the top six in the world here this week. The field here is going to go from strength to strength.”
Said Canadian Nick Taylor, who opened with 64-65 before fading on the weekend (73-72, T27), “I think a lot of the top guys like playing the week before the major to be in competitive mode.”
4. Canada won in other ways, too.
The last Canadian to win the tournament remains Pat Fletcher in 1954, but the week offered plenty of close calls and hope for the future. Taylor’s 64-65 start was exciting, and Adam Hadwin (70, solo 6th) not only won the Rivermead Cup as Low Canadian, he earned a spot in the Open Championship (along with Graeme McDowell, T8) later this summer.
Fellow Canadian Mackenzie Hughes (71, T14) also had a good week.
“Yeah, I think it means a lot,” Hadwin said of the home country’s strong showing. “I think it proves a lot to not only us as players, but the golfing fans across the country that there is a bunch of us out here and we're here to stay. We're here to play well and we're going to contend for championships for years to come.”
5. Simpson confident as he eyes Pebble Beach.
McIlroy wasn’t the only player to get a little U.S. Open wind in his sails at Hamilton.
Webb Simpson, who won the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic Club, will try to replicate that feat a couple hours south at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach buoyed by his T2 finish in Canada.
“I felt like mentally it was my best week in a long time,” said Simpson, the 2018 PLAYERS champion. “I putted really well. I'm excited. Got to make short putts, long putts at the U.S. Open to contend, and so I'm excited for next week. I think my game is in a good spot.”
1. McIlroy’s dominance was easily quantified. He ranked 1st in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (+1.729), 5th in SG: Approach-the-Green (+1.224), 6th in SG: Approach-the-Green (+0.862), 6th in SG: Putting (+1.457) and 1st in SG: Total (+5.272), making him just the fourth winner to rank inside the top six in each of those statistics since 2004. He’s the first, however, to do so on a course other than Kapalua. The others: Xander Schauffele (2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions), Jordan Spieth (2016 Sentry TOC), and Stuart Appleby (2006 Sentry TOC).
2. McIlroy was just as dominant by margin of victory. His seven-shot cushion marked his fourth career win by seven or more strokes. He won the 2015 Wells Fargo Championship by seven, and cruised to eight-shot wins at the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA Championship.
3. There were three rounds of 61 or better on the week – Brandt Snedeker’s second-round 60, Ben Silverman’s second-round 61, McIlroy’s final-round 61 – which makes a total of 10 rounds of 61 or better on TOUR this season. Last season saw just six such rounds in total.
4. Simpson notched his fourth top-10 finish this season after racking up nine of them last season, and he did it largely with his short game. He ranked 1st in Strokes Gained: Putting (+9.069) and Scrambling (18 of 21).
5. England’s Danny Willett (T8, -10) posted his first top-10 finish on TOUR since winning the 2016 Masters Tournament, a span of 35 starts.
The Wyndham Rewards Top 10 is in its first season and adds another layer of excitement to the FedExCup Regular Season. The top 10 players at the end of the FedExCup Regular Season will earn bonus payouts from the Wyndham Rewards Top 10.
The big mover at the RBC Canadian Open was exactly who you would expect, with winner Rory McIlroy moving into second position just 120 points behind Matt Kuchar (70, T4). McIlroy, the 2016 FedExCup champion, won for the second time this season and heads to this week’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach with Kuchar well within range.
Rank Rank last week Player What Top 10 gets (End of Regular Season) 1st 1st Matt Kuchar $2 million 2nd 4th Rory McIlroy $1.5 million 3rd 2nd Brooks Koepka $1.2 million 4th 3rd Xander Schauffele $1.1 million 5th 5th Dustin Johnson $1 million 6th 6th Patrick Cantlay $850,000 7th 7th Paul Casey $700,000 8th 8th Rickie Fowler $600,000 9th 9th Gary Woodland $550,000 10th 10th Justin Rose $500,000