The fourth and final major tournament of the 2012 golf campaign is now a thing of the past, and fans of the sport will not soon forget 23-year-old winner Rory McIlroy's complete domination of Kiawah Island's Ocean Course en route to an eight-stroke victory.
McIlroy's eye-popping win not only put him into the record books for breaking Jack Nicklaus' seven-stroke margin of victory record for a major dating back to 1980, but also put the Irish born youngster firmly at No. 1 in the official world golf rankings, a distinction he will take into the 2013 season.
Although he finished a full 17 shots back of McIlroy's 13-under score, Kansas native Gary Woodland also turned in a strong performance over the weekend to finish in a tie for 42nd place. After opening his tournament with a 5-under par score of 67 on Thursday, Woodland's brutal 79 in the tumultuous wind on Friday completely erased his hot start and hurt his chances for a career-best finish.
But with the pressure, and more importantly the wind, off his back in rounds three and four, Woodland eased up and was able to play some of his best golf to-date. His final round score of 71 put him in rare company too, as only a handful of golfers were able to remain in red numbers over their final 18 holes. "When the wind snuck up I kind of got out of control with my golf swing, which is a little frustrating,” Woodland told The Topeka Capital-Journal on Sunday. “All in all, I’m starting to putt better, hit it better and I’m driving the heck out of it, so I’m pretty excited right now.”