Rory McIlroy was born in Northern Ireland in 1989, and was hitting 40-yard drives by age 2. He went pro in 2007, and became the youngest player to rank among the world's Top 50 golfers. He won his first major, the U.S. Open, in 2011, breaking records held by Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus with a score of 268. McIlroy took home his second major title at the 2012 PGA Championship, becoming the youngest PGA Tour playoff winner to date.
Rory McIlroy was born on May 4, 1989, in Holywood, County Down, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, the only child of Gerry and Rosie McIlroy. Raised Catholic, McIlroy's father introduced him to golf when he could barely walk, and his skill was immediately apparent. McIlroy hit a 40-yard drive at the age of 2, and his first hole in one at age 9. In order to support his golf education, his father worked three jobs and his mother worked extra night shifts, and McIlroy left school at age 16 in order to focus on the game.
McIlroy began competing when he was a child, and scored his first notable international win in the 9 to 10 age division at the World Championships in Miami, Florida. At age 11, he was shooting level par around his home course's par-69 layout. By the time he won the 2002 Ulster Boys Championship, two years later, his handicap was at scratch.
In 2004, McIlroy was on Europe's winning team at the Junior Ryder Cup, and he played in his first professional event, the 2005 British Masters, at age 15. That same year, his score of 61 and 11-under par set a record at the North of Ireland Amateur Open at Royal Portrush, besting the previous record by three shots. At age 16, he became youngest player to win two events—the West of Ireland Championship and the Irish Close Championship— and he successfully defended both titles the following year. He took home the 2006 European Amateur title, as well.
With a record-breaking amateur run under his belt, McIlroy commenced setting records in the professional arena. He turned pro in 2007, one day before the British Masters at The Belfry. That year, he became the youngest affiliate member to ever earn a European Tour card. He took home the silver in the Omega European Masters in 2008, and in November, became the youngest player to ever rank among the world's Top 50 golfers.
In 2009, McIlroy picked up his first professional tournament win at the Dubai Desert Classic. Although he competed in both the Masters and the U.S. Open in 2009, he missed the cut for the two majors in 2010, but won the PGA's Quail Hollow Championship that April.
After a strong start at the U.S. Masters in 2011, McIlroy famously bombed the closing round, which took him from a four-shot lead to 15th place. He more than made up for it in the U.S. Open, however, by smashing records and winning his first major title. His score of 268 set a record for the lowest 72-hole total—a record previously held by Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus—and his 16-under is the lowest 72-hole total in relationship to par. He also beat the record for lowest score to par at any point in a U.S. Open, among others.
McIlroy landed his second major title at the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. He scored a birdie on the last hole to win by a record eight shots, becoming the youngest golfer to win a PGA Tour playoff.
In 2012, SportsPro magazine placed McIlroy second on their list of the "50 Most Marketable Athletes," and the Golf Club Managers' Association's named him the "second most powerful person in British golf."
In 2014, McIlroy won the 143rd British Open championship and sealed his place in history with Jack Niclaus and Tiger woods as the only players to win their third major title by the age of 25. He continued his streak by winning the 2014 U.S. PGA Championship, his fourth major, just one stroke ahead of Phil Mickelson.
When he's not on the road, McIlroy lives in County Down, Northern Ireland, where he has a custom practice facility. He is an ambassador for UNICEF Ireland (also known as the Irish National Committee for UNICEF).
In 2011, McIlroy began dating Caroline Wozniacki, a tennis pro from Denmark. They announced their engagement on New Year's Eve 2013, but called it quits in 2014 just months before their planned November wedding.
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