Stat attack!: Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy has already been named by many news outlets as the golfer of the year for 2014. No doubt many more will follow suit. But recognition for McIlroy’s great season comes with the reminder that it wasn’t just a year of successes for the world No. 1. It was a year of many highs and a few lows – and we’re just talking on the course, here, forgetting for a while his engagement and eventual break-up with Caroline Wozniacki or his legal dispute with his former management company. Remember McIlroy giving away the Honda Classic, or his Friday struggles throughout the first half of the year? They’re past history. Here is a tournament-by-tournament statistical recap of McIlroy’s year on the 2013-14 PGA and European tours.

 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship 70-67-70-68—275 T-2

The first of five runner-up finishes for McIlroy in 2014, he hit just 18 fairways over the final three rounds (42.8 percent), but it was a two-stroke penalty in the third round for an incorrect drop that cost him as he lost by one to Pablo Larrazabal.

 Omega Dubai Desert Classic 63-70-69-74—276 T-9

This was one of three times Rory would open with a round of 63, his season-low score. He would not win any of those tournaments. 

 WGC-Accenture Match Play  Eliminated in second round by Harris English, 19 holes T-17

McIlroy is 5-1 in the first round of the Match Play, but has gotten past the second round only twice (2009 and 2012).

 Honda Classic 63-66-69-74—272 T-2

This was the only time all year that his scores went up after every round. The inexplicable playoff loss to Russell Henley – Rory was 5 over on the last 12 holes to fall from the lead – marked the second straight stroke-play event in which he opened with a 63 and finished with a 74.

 WGC-Cadillac Championship 70-74-75-74-293 T-25

This was McIlroy’s highest finish in a PGA Tour event in 2014-15, one of just three times he was outside the top 20, and the only tournament all year in which he did not have at least one round in the 60s. 

 Shell Houston Open 70-71-74-65—280 T-17

The final-round 65 moved him from T-37 to T-7. This tournament began a streak of five straight top 10s for McIlroy, matching his best of the year.

 Masters 71-77-71-69—288 T-8

Note the second round, and know that things would get worse on Fridays before they got better. McIlroy had a back-nine 40 in Round 2 at Augusta. For the year, he led the PGA Tour in back-nine scoring average (34.52).

 Wells Fargo Championship 69-76-65-70—280 T-8

If McIlroy matched his first-round 69 on Day 2, he would have won by one stroke. This time his Friday 40 came on the front nine. For the day he made just two of six putts (33 percent) from 4-8 feet. His season average was 71.43 percent. After this week, he was 11th on the World Ranking, his worst placement of the year. 

 Players Championship 70-74-69-66—279 T-6

As it did a week earlier, a second-round 69 would have given McIlroy the victory. McIlroy’s Sunday 66 was a thing of beauty, including six birdies on the back (including 16, 17 and 18).

 BMW PGA Championship 68-71-69-66—274 Won

His first win of 2014 came just days after his well-publicized break-up with Wozniacki. The seven-stroke comeback on Sunday equaled the tournament record and it was, perhaps surprisingly, McIlroy’s first European Tour victory in Europe.

 Memorial Tournament 63-78-69-72—282 T-15

After this event, McIlroy’s second-round scoring average on the PGA Tour was 73.50, ranking 186th of 191 players. His season fairways-hit percentage was 56.70, 144th on Tour.

 U.S. Open 71-68-74-73—286 T-23

At the midway point of his year, McIlroy had one win and eight top-10 finishes, but he was winless on the PGA Tour and ranked 35th in the FedEx Cup standings and 28th on the money list.

 Irish Open 74-69—143 Missed cut

The only time all year McIlroy missed a cut. He hit just 21 greens in two rounds and couldn’t recover when he missed, making par or better just five times when he didn’t hit the green in regulation.

 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open 64-78-68-67—277 T-14

Like the Memorial, his first-round-to-second-round swing was stunning, but he recovered nicely with 10 birdies and three bogeys on the weekend. Eighth on the world ranking after this event, he was about to move up quickly.

 British Open 66-66-68-71—271 Won

McIlroy’s 17-under 271 was the fourth-lowest total in relation to par to win the Open. He dominated on the par 5s at Royal Liverpool, especially Saturday when he made eagle on the 16th and 18th holes to take what became an insurmountable lead of six strokes into Sunday. For the week, McIlroy was one of four players to shoot 12 under on the par-5 holes.

 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational 69-64-66-66—265 Won

McIlroy led the field in distance and greens in regulation, while missing only four putts from less than 10 feet. The victory helped McIlroy regain the No. 1 spot on the world ranking.

 PGA Championship 66-67-67-68—268 Won

McIlroy was 16 under par at Valhalla, marking the fourth time he has won a major by shooting at least 13 under par. He joined Tiger Woods as the only players to pull off the Summer Slam (British, WGC-Bridgestone and PGA) since the WGC events were created in 1999. He was 12 under for the week on holes 10-18.

 The Barclays 74-65-70-70—279 T-22

His winning streak ended at three, thanks to a role reversal of sorts from his early-season struggles. McIlroy opened with 74, his worst first round of the season on the PGA Tour (he also shot 74 to start the Irish Open). 

 Deutsche Bank Championship 70-69-64-70—273 T-5

McIlroy shot 6.43 strokes better than the field during his third-round 64, but he shot 70 on Monday when the field averaged 69.

 BMW Championship 67-67-72-66—272 T-8

McIlroy made his longest putt of the year (59 feet, 8 inches) on the fourth hole of the third round. For the year, he led the PGA Tour in putting from beyond 25 feet, making 11.70 percent (22 of 188). 

 Tour Championship 69-65-67-71—272 T-2

McIlroy’s U.S. season ended with his PGA Tour-best 12th top-10 finish. He also led the Tour in birdie average (4.58), scoring average (68.29), earnings ($8,280,086), and putts per GIR (1.708, which was the second-lowest total on Tour in the last 10 years).

 Alfred Dunhill Links 73-67-64-68—272 T-2

In his only European Tour event in September or October, McIlroy had his second of three consecutive runner-up finishes. This time he was gutted by a first-round 73. It was the eighth straight time he would shoot in the 60s in Round 2. Through the Scottish Open his Friday average was 73.00. In his last nine starts he averaged 66.66 in Round 2. 

 DP World Tour Championship 66-70-70-68—274 T-2

In his last five European Tour starts of 2014, McIlroy finished first three times and second twice. Nineteen of 20 rounds were under par, and he was a cumulative 78 under par in the five events.

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