AKRON, Ohio — Winning the British Open wasn’t enough to make Rory McIlroy want to take the rest of the year off to celebrate. Neither was the first World Golf Championship he won Sunday at Firestone.
Another major awaits next week. McIlroy can’t wait to get there.
Two weeks after his wire-to-wire win at Royal Liverpool, McIlroy took his game from the links of Britain to the parkland of America and made the game look just as easy. With another powerful performance, he wiped out a three-shot deficit to Sergio Garcia in three holes, closed with a 4-under 66 and returned to No. 1 in the world with a two-shot victory in the Bridgestone Invitational.
He looked just as good as the last time he reached No. 1 in the world during his torrid stretch at the end of 2012.
“This is better,” he said. “Mentally, I’m really sharp. I didn’t start to think about score. I didn’t think about where I was in the tournament. I just playing shot after shot after shot. So yeah, it’s good.”
Garcia wasn’t at his best and closed with a 71. He’s not sure it would have mattered.
“Everybody saw it,” Garcia said. “He played very, very well. He drove the ball miles and very, very straight for the most part. He gave himself a lot of birdie looks.”
McIlroy became the 13th player with a major and a World Golf Championship, and he joined Tiger Woods as the only players to win them in consecutive starts.
Woods wasn’t around to see it.
Four months after back surgery, and in his third tournament since his return, Woods injured his lower back when he landed with a thud in the stand from an awkward stance atop a bunker on the second hole. He withdrew after a tee shot on the ninth hole, bending over slowly and struggling to remove the tee from the ground.
It was not clear if Woods could play in the PGA Championship next week.