Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Golf: Rory McIlroy on top of the world ... again

updated 7:34 AM EDT, Mon August 4, 2014
Rory McIlroy will attempt to win the fourth major of his career at the Valhalla Golf Club.
Rory McIlroy will attempt to win the fourth major of his career at the Valhalla Golf Club.
  • Rory McIlroy is back on top of golf's world rankings
  • The Northern Irishman won the World Golf Championships event in Akron, Ohio
  • It was the first tournament McIlroy had played since winning the British Open
  • McIlroy is favorite to win this week's U.S. PGA Championship

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Rory McIlroy is once again top of golf's world rankings and, on the evidence of his current form, the Northern Irishman is set for a long stay at the summit.

Two weeks after winning the British Open, McIlroy overhauled Spain's Sergio Garcia to triumph at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio on Sunday.

The 25-year-old posted a four-under-par final round of 66 to finish 15 under for the tournament, two strokes clear of Garcia -- who tied for second behind McIlroy at Hoylake last month.

McIlroy is now red-hot favorite to seal his fourth major crown at the U.S. PGA Championship, which begins Thursday at the Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.

One-on-one with Rory McIlroy
Tiger's shot at Major mark slipping away
Annika Sorenstam's bunker shot

"It's the most comfortable I've ever felt trying to close out a golf tournament out there today," he told the PGA Tour's official website after eating up Garcia's three-shot overnight lead in the final round at Firestone, during which Tiger Woods withdrew with a recurrence of his back injury.

"I felt normal," McIlroy added. "I felt like it was the first round or the second round. It didn't feel like a fourth round."

His fortunes are in stark contrast to this time last year.

A switch of equipment supplier coincided with a slump in performance which culminated with McIlroy enduring a torrid time at the 2013 British Open, where he failed to make the cut.

Fast forward 12 months and McIlroy has the Claret Jug sat on his mantelpiece after successfully mastering his Nike clubs -- in particular his driver.

He hit the ball further than any of his competitors over the four days of play at the World Golf Championships event, leading the field in driving distance with an average of 317 yards.

"The big thing for me is if you let it affect you mentally, it makes it more difficult," said McIlroy, reflecting on his difficult spell last year.

"If you can stay strong mentally when you're going through the struggles you always seem to come out the other side OK.

"It's when it affects you mentally you can start to lose confidence, then you're losing confidence in your swing. It can spiral out of control, kind of like I did last summer."

McIlroy will be aiming to win the season's final major for the second time in his career when the action tees off later this week.

Blog: McIlroy fulfills golfing destiny

Read: PGA Tour denies Johnson ban

Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
It's a big dilemma: Be with your wife for the birth of your first child, or stay at work and try to earn $11 million. For Billy Horschel, it's a no-brainer.
updated 7:40 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
She's just 19 but Hyo Joo Kim is already showing she's ready for the big time after recording the lowest ever round at a major championship.
updated 1:06 PM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Masters champion Bubba Watson says winning the $10 million FedEx Cup jackpot would bring forward his retirement from the game.
updated 7:31 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
EVIAN-LES-BAINS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 15: A view of the 14th green during the third round of The Evian Championship at the Evian Resort Golf Club on September 15, 2013 in Evian-les-Bains, France. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
The world's top women golfers will be chasing a $3.25 million prize purse at one of the most stunning courses on the LPGA Tour.
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Wed September 3, 2014
Tom Watson selects Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson as his wildcard picks for the Ryder Cup contest with Europe.
updated 9:52 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
Ian Poulter kept Europe clinging on in their Ryder Cup battle with the United States in Chicago.
Ian Poulter, who has constantly haunted the U.S. in Ryder Cup golf, is back after being chosen as a wildcard by European captain Paul McGinley.
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Tiger Woods has split with his longtime coach Sean Foley after not winning a major during their four-year tenure.
updated 7:05 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
Success just keeps on coming for Rory McIlroy, but the world No. 1 is already targeting more titles following his second PGA Championship win.
updated 10:24 AM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
From Seve's "spine-shivering" moment to Jack Nicklaus' "perfect explosion," David Cannon has captured many of golf's defining images.
updated 9:20 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
They came home as casualties of war -- physically shattered and mentally broken. But golf is proving to be an unlikely salvation for U.S. veterans.
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
You are the one hitting the shots, but the man standing over your shoulder could hold the key to your golfing destiny.
updated 8:27 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
PINEHURST, NC - JUNE 10: Rory McIlroy (R) of Northern Ireland talks with his dad Gerry McIlroy (L) during a practice round prior to the start of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 10, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
He has been there for all three of his son's major wins, but the latest triumph may well have been the sweetest yet for Rory McIlroy's father.