Rory McIlroy Wins The CJ Cup And Moves To World No.1 Spot

McIlroy showed his class on the back nine at The CJ Cup, as his victory moved him top of the World Rankings

McIlroy waves to the crowd
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy's incredible form continued as, not only did he defend his CJ Cup title, but moved to the top of the World Rankings in a seriously impressive display at Congaree Golf Club.

Going in to the tournament, the 33-year-old had the opportunity to jump Scottie Scheffler via a number of outcomes, but McIlroy eliminated any doubt, as he secured a 23rd PGA Tour title and a place at the top of the World Ranking summit for the first time since July 2020.

"It means a lot, I've worked so hard to get myself back to this," stated an emotional McIlroy following his victory. "I feel like I'm enjoying the game as much as I ever have. I absolutely love the game of golf and I go out there and I play with that joy and it's definitely showed over those 12 months.

"It feels awesome and I'm looking forward to celebrating with my team tonight and the next couple of weeks because I think it's a big achievement and I'm really proud of myself right now. I never feel like I have figured this game out and I don't think I ever will figure it out but everyday I wake up and try and get closer."

Beginning the final day, the four-time Major winner held a slim one shot advantage over the trio of K.H Lee, Kurt Kitayama and European Ryder Cup teammate, Jon Rahm, with a number of big names chasing down McIlroy.

Throughout the day, it was the case of that one shot advantage staying intact as, through a third of the round, McIlroy remained ahead. He did momentarily pull the lead to two, but those chasing clawed it back to one.

It was midway through the back nine though where McIlroy showed his experience and class, as birdies at the 12th, 14th, 15th and 16th catapulted him into a three shot lead, as the momentum swung in the Northern Irishman's favour. 

Rory walks on the putting green

McIlroy secured a 23rd PGA Tour title with a one shot victory

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Despite a bogey at the 17th hole, McIlroy held a two shot advantage over Kitayama going down the 18th and, when he found the fairway with his tee shot and then the green with his approach, the walk up the last was that much sweeter.

Although a scrappy three putt followed, and a bogey-bogey finish... the title was McIlroy's as he became the World No.1 for the ninth time and secured a 10th top 5 in 15 starts, as well as a third victory worldwide!

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x