Rory McIlroy closed with an eight-under 62 to win the RBC Canadian Open – and, afterwards, he couldn’t resist a sly dig at LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman.
With the Aussie’s controversial new Saudi-funded circuit stealing much of the focus this past week as it staged the first of its $25m tournaments at Centurion Club in England, the PGA Tour was left in the unusual position of playing second fiddle in the golf news agenda.
Leave it to one of its biggest stars, then, to reclaim the focus with a stunning defence of his title at St George’s Golf and Country Club in Ontario.
Pushed all the way by a star-studded chasing pack that included the likes of Justin Thomas, Tony Finau and Scottie Scheffler, McIlroy produced a scintillating final round to close out the 21st win of his PGA Tour career.
That’s one more than Norman managed in his playing days, as McIlroy was quick to remind everybody.
Speaking to reporter Amanda Balionis immediately after holing his winning putt, McIlroy said: “This is a day I’ll remember for a long, long time. My 21st PGA Tour win. One more than someone else. That gave me a bit of extra incentive today. I’m happy to get it done.”
At 33 years of age, McIlroy is the fourth youngest player to reach 21 PGA Tour wins in the last 50 years, behind Phil Mickelson, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods.
His victory is also the perfect riposte for the PGA Tour at the end of a week in which commissioner Jay Monahan announcing suspensions for players who play in LIV Golf events couldn’t deter Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Pat Perez from pledging their fealty to the upstart organisation.
McIlroy, however, has stayed loyal to the PGA Tour and appears to be rediscovering his very best form – timely, with the US Open coming up this week.
“I think after COVID I needed a complete reset,” he admitted. “I sort of rededicated myself to the game a little bit and realised what made me happy. This makes me happy. I put the work in, I’ve got a great team around me who are behind me 100%, so it makes it easy for me to go and do things like I’ve just done today.”