PGA champion McIlroy revels in defying doubters
August 13, 2012 -- Updated 1143 GMT (1943 HKT)
- Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy wins PGA Championship by a record eight-shot margin
- The 23-year-old is a two-time major winner following his victory at the 2011 U.S. Open
- McIlroy replaces fellow Briton Luke Donald at the top of the world rankings
- McIlroy finished no higher than 40th at the year's first three major tournaments
(CNN) -- Newly-crowned PGA Championship winner and world No. 1 Rory McIlroy took a swipe at his critics after a record-breaking triumph at the golf season's final major at Kiawah Island.
The Northern Irishman carded a six-under-par final round of 66 to finish 13 under for the tournament and eight strokes clear of his nearest challenger David Lynn, bettering the margin of victory Jack Nicklaus recorded at the event in 1980.
McIlroy, who finished tied for 60th at last month's British Open after missing the cut at the U.S. Open and languishing down in level 40th at the Masters, has seen his profile rise since he started dating tennis star Caroline Wozniacki last year.
It was his first win since March's Honda Classic and his see-saw form prior to victory in South Carolina had raised question marks over his focus.
McIlroy wins the PGA Championship
Winning majors with Nicklaus, McIlroy
"It's nice to be able to prove a few people wrong with a win like this," McIlroy told CNN after the the seventh win of his professional career.
"This year is the first year I've had to handle the level of scrutiny my game and my life has come under. I know a lot of people were panicking that I wasn't playing so well.
"Everyone has dips in form and that was one of mine. I knew my game wasn't so far away."
It was McIlroy's second major success following an equally emphatic victory at the 2011 U.S. Open, meaning the 23-year-old now has more wins in golf's four marquee tournaments than 14-time major champion Tigers Woods did at the same age.
"It's been an incredible day," said McIlory, who followed Woods' tradition of wearing a red shirt on the final day of a competition.
"Having a chance going into Sunday at a major then playing the way I did the whole way through the round, not making a bogey, and winning by such a clear margin, it doesn't get any better than this.
"The first major is always going to be special; you're only going to do it once. But here is validation, its relief. A lot of people have won one major, not a lot of people have won multiple.
"To be able to put my name alongside some of the greats that have done that is a nice feeling."
McIlroy's fellow Briton Lynn was the surprise package of the tournament, finishing on five under to clinch second place in only his second appearance at a major.
The 38-year-old has won one event in 370 on the European Tour, but final-round birdies at the 16th and 17th holes meant he walked away with a check for $870,000.
Britons dominated the top of the leaderboard, with Justin Rose and Ian Poulter finishing tied for third on four under alongside 2011 champion Keegan Bradley.
Woods, looking for a first major win since the 2008 U.S. Open, slipped down the pecking order after a level-par final round. The 36-year-old ended the weekend in a seven-way tie for 11th.
Part of complete coverage on
June 14, 2013 -- Updated 1528 GMT (2328 HKT)
Two of the most recognizable faces on the planet were casually shooting the breeze as they swept down the fairway in Florida.
June 13, 2013 -- Updated 1517 GMT (2317 HKT)
As well as the bad weather that has already disrupted play, the world's top golfers will face a rare challenge at this week's U.S. Open at Merion.
June 3, 2013 -- Updated 1053 GMT (1853 HKT)
Forget hitting the greens -- it's the fairway to heaven which is on the minds of some of the world's top golfers.
June 11, 2013 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
David Graham reflects on the emotion of winning the U.S. Open at Merion in 1981, the Australian's second major triumph.
June 11, 2013 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
Shane O'Donoghue attempts to recreate the most iconic photo in golf, Hy Peskin's pic of Ben Hogan's one-iron shot.
June 6, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Butch Harmon and his son, Claude Harmon III, open up about their family's golf legacy.
June 6, 2013 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Lee Trevino recounts his 1971 victory at Merion Golf Club, which will also host this year's U.S. Open.
June 6, 2013 -- Updated 1629 GMT (0029 HKT)
Tiger Woods has climbed back to the top of the golf rankings, and now he has reclaimed his crown as the world's highest-paid athlete.
April 16, 2013 -- Updated 1615 GMT (0015 HKT)
Masters champion Adam Scott not only has to contend with national hero status at home but also the role of golf's latest sex symbol.
April 12, 2013 -- Updated 1118 GMT (1918 HKT)
Discover why golf's old school establishment fears a new breed of players creating new popularity with their online antics.
April 11, 2013 -- Updated 1854 GMT (0254 HKT)
Following the web's reaction to Adam Scott's dramtic triumph at the 2013 Masters.
April 12, 2013 -- Updated 1408 GMT (2208 HKT)
It's not just golf that makes Augusta so special -- there's also James Brown, cheese pimiento sandwiches, turkeys and ghosts.
March 26, 2013 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
As a swimmer, his countless hours of training paid off handsomely. As a golfer, Michael Phelps is wondering what he got himself into.
April 1, 2013 -- Updated 1306 GMT (2106 HKT)
American D.A. Points celebrates his win at the Houston Open by joining in the "Dufnering" craze that has gripped golf recently.
March 7, 2013 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Living Golf meets Thorbjorn Olesen as the rising star of European golf prepares for the most important tournaments of his career.
March 13, 2013 -- Updated 1925 GMT (0325 HKT)
Martin Kaymer reflects on his performance at the 39th Ryder Cup, when he sunk the winning putt against the United States.
February 7, 2013 -- Updated 1501 GMT (2301 HKT)
CNN's Shane O'Donoghue asks how much Rory McIlroy's new multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal is really worth.
February 7, 2013 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
Living Golf meets Paul McGinley, who talks about becoming Europe's new Ryder Cup captain.
February 18, 2013 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
Paul McGinley's former captain, Sam Torrance, shares some advice for the pro golfer turned new Ryder Cup captain.
Today's five most popular stories