Relive Rory McIlroy's 2012 PGA Championship Win At Kiawah Island

We look back at the Northern Irishman's dominant display the last time the PGA Championship was held at Kiawah Island

Relive Rory McIlroy's 2012 PGA Championship Win

We look back at the Northern Irishman's dominant display the last time the PGA Championship was held at Kiawah Island

Relive Rory McIlroy's 2012 PGA Championship Win At Kiawah Island

Winning a major is hard. Winning a major by eight shots is even harder. And winning the first two majors of your career by eight shots just shouldn’t be possible. 

But that’s what happened in 2012 when Rory McIlroy produced one of the most dominant displays in major championship history. 

Ahead of the 2021 edition, we look back at how the Northern Irishman conquered Kiawah Island the last time it hosted the PGA Championship.

Getting off to a good start is essential, and on a fairly mild Thursday, that’s exactly what McIlroy did. A five-under 67 put him in position, just one back of Sweden’s surprise first-round leader, Carl Pettersson. 

However, it’s one thing to get the better of the golf course and something else entirely to overcome the elements that regularly feature at the South Carolina venue.

The wind wreaked havoc on the second-round scoring

An early morning thunderstorm ahead of the second round sent scores soaring, with strong winds pushing the stroke average for the day out to 78.11 - the highest in the tournament’s recent history.

Related: Who Runs The PGA Championship?

Vijay Singh shot a best-of-the-day 69 to sit tied at the top at four-under alongside Pettersson and Tiger Woods, while McIlroy’s 75 left him two adrift at the halfway stage. 

Onto moving day and it certainly lived up to its billing for the 2011 US Open winner who covered the front-nine in just 32 shots to tie Singh before play was suspended for the day.

And upon resumption early on Sunday, McIlroy was one of few in contention to move forward, finishing the third round at seven-under and three clear. 

But history is littered with great champions, including McIlroy, who have failed to convert an overnight major lead. So, perhaps helped by the relatively quick lunchtime turnaround, the Northern Irishman put on a final-round masterclass in leading from the front.

An electric start from Ian Poulter - birdieing the first five holes - brought the Englishman within one of the lead, but that was the closest anyone would get. A birdie from the trees at the par-5 second set the tone for the 23-year-old McIlroy and he never looked back.

McIlroy hitting his third shot from the trees at the par-5 second during the final round

Another birdie followed at the next, pushing the lead out to three, before a two-putt gain at the seventh got him to 10-under as he turned for home. 

Poulter briefly reduced the deficit to two with birdies at 11 and 12, but three consecutive bogeys ended title hopes and he would have to settle for a T3 finish.

Related: The Perks Of Winning The PGA Championship

By now, all challengers had fallen by the wayside, but there was no let-up from McIlroy, whose dialled approach into the treacherous 12th set up another birdie and a six-shot lead.

And after completing a clean sweep of birdies for the week at the par-5 16th, the man from Hollywood brought the curtain down on an irresistible performance, holing a 20-footer from the fringe at the 72nd hole for a bogey-free 66 and an eight-shot victory.

In lifting the Wanamaker Trophy for the first time, McIlroy became the youngest PGA Champion in the modern era and reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the world rankings, bringing to an end Luke Donald’s 10-week reign. 

He would go on to complete the third leg of the career grand slam at The Open in 2014 before winning his second PGA Championship later that year. Remarkably, that remains McIlroy's last major victory.

However, coming off the back of his first win in 18 months last time out at the Wells Fargo, he'll be well fancied to break his major drought and make it back-to-back PGA Championships at Kiawah Island.

Andrew Wright
Staff Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.

Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.

As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as,, and

What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1