A closer look at Rory McIlroy’s long wait for a fifth major crown

By Sports Desk June 19, 2023

Rory McIlroy had to settle for a runner-up finish at the US Open as his long wait for a fifth major title continued.

McIlroy finished one stroke behind first-time major winner Wyndham Clark at Los Angeles Country Club, meaning he has still not lifted one of golf’s four biggest prizes since his success at the US PGA Championship in 2014.

Here, the PA news agency looks at McIlroy’s long wait and the near misses among the way.

Turning of the tide

McIlroy said after Sunday’s heartbreaking finish that an eventual fifth major would be worth “100 Sundays like this” and he is now a third of the way there, with 33 appearances at majors since his last win.

He has 19 top-10 and 10 top-five finishes in that time, with his recent form in particular indicating an overdue success is on the way.

McIlroy has finished in the top 10 in six of the seven major tournaments this season and last and 11 of the last 17, with Sunday marking his second runner-up finish in that time.

The other came at last year’s Masters, albeit three strokes behind winner Scottie Scheffler, and was followed by eighth and fifth at the US PGA Championship and US Open respectively and third place at the Open Championship – two shots behind champion Cameron Smith.

After missing the cut at Augusta in April he was back to form with a tie for seventh at the US PGA before pushing Clark all the way.

Roll of honour

There have been 24 different major winners since McIlroy’s last success, with Brooks Koepka headlining that list with five wins.

Koepka won the US Open in 2017 and 2018 and the US PGA in 2018, 2019 and this year.

Jordan Spieth has won three majors in that time – the Masters and US Open in 2015 and the Open two years later – while Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa and Jon Rahm have two apiece.

Clark is the 18th different player to win a single major in that stretch, including six European Ryder Cup team-mates of McIlroy in Danny Willett, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick.

Americans Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed, Tiger Woods, Gary Woodland, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Scheffler have won one each, along with Australians Jason Day and Smith and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama.


A handful of players have won majors after a longer wait that McIlroy’s current drought, though if he is to win again while avoiding the top 10 of that list it will have to be at next month’s Open.

Julius Boros won his two US Open titles in 1952 and 1963, 11 years and nine days apart, with Hale Irwin going a day over 11 years between his 1979 and 1990 wins.

Ben Crenshaw won the Masters in 1984 and 1995, coming in just six days shy of the 11-year mark, while Henry Cotton won the Open in 1937 and 1948.

Tiger Woods’ memorable victory at the 2019 Masters came almost 11 years on from his 2008 US Open win, with Lee Trevino and Ernie Els also cracking the 10-year barrier.

John Henry Taylor and Bob Martin waited just over nine years between major wins, with Willie Park Sr just three days shy of that mark at the 1875 Open.

No other player has exceeded McIlroy’s current wait and there is a further note of caution as only Boros and Taylor of that top 10 went on to add further major titles, and then only one more apiece – Boros at the 1968 US PGA and Taylor the 1913 Open.

Related items

  • PGA Tour winner Murray dies aged 30 after withdrawing from Charles Schwab Challenge PGA Tour winner Murray dies aged 30 after withdrawing from Charles Schwab Challenge

    PGA Tour winner Grayson Murray has died aged 30 after withdrawing from the Charles Schwab Challenge.

    The two-time Tour champion withdrew from the tournament in Fort Worth, Texas during his second round on Friday due to illness.

    Murray, who won his second title at this year's Sony Open in Hawaii, passed away on Saturday as the Tour confirmed the news through an organisational statement.

    "We were devastated to learn – and are heartbroken to share – that Grayson Murray passed away this morning. I am at a loss for words," wrote Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.

  • Zandre Roye & Mattea Issa in the lead at National Amateur Golf Champs Zandre Roye & Mattea Issa in the lead at National Amateur Golf Champs

    Zandre Roye and Mattea Issa both had a three-point lead over their nearest competitors at the end of the first round of the Jamaica Golf Association's National Amateur Golf Championship being played at the Caymanas Golf Club in St. Catherine.

    Roye scored even par 72 for the round to lead former national champion and club mate Oshae Haye and Jack Stein by three strokes after they both scored three over par 75.

    They were being tracked closely by young guns Rocco Lopez and Trey Williams who are just two strokes back on five over par 77.

    Roye had a good front nine and was up by two between holes six to eight after copping two birdies on holes two and six but bogeyed number eight to close on one under par 35.

    He started the back nine by dropping a shot on hole number 10 but recovered on holes 11 and 12 to be up by two shots between 12 to 15 but dropped a shot on 16 and 17, then parred 18 to close the back nine on one over par 37.

    His four birdies were cancelled out by the four bogeys which he scored in the round. That makes him the only golfer to go into day two with a clean sheet to build on.

    Junior player Mattea Issa scored nine over par 81 to take the lead over many time national champion Jodi Munn-Barrow who ended the first round on twelve over par 84. Alessandra Coe, another junior player was just two shots behind on 14 over par 86.

    Mattea Issa

    Both Roye and Issa were happy with their first round performance under hot and windy conditions on the course, while looking forward to extending their lead at the end of the second round of the three-round championship.

    The second round will get under way at 8:30 am on Saturday morning.

    There will be a new male and female champion this year as William Knibbs and Michelle McCreath who are the 2023 champions did not tee off on Friday and will not feature in the championship this year.


  • PGA Championship: Scheffler unsure if arrest a factor after 'hectic' weekend PGA Championship: Scheffler unsure if arrest a factor after 'hectic' weekend

    Scottie Scheffler is unsure whether his arrest on Friday was a factor after a disappointing Saturday led to him finishing tied for eighth at a "hectic" PGA Championship.

    On Friday, world number one Scheffler was arrested outside Valhalla Golf Club ahead of his second round.

    It subsequently emerged that he faces charges of second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving, and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic.

    Scheffler shot a five-under 66 in the delayed second round, one stroke better than his first round, but a two-over 73 on Saturday all but ended his hopes of back-to-back major wins.

    Xander Schauffele ultimately claimed his first major title at 21 under, eight shots ahead of Scheffler.

    Speaking after Sunday's final round, in which a run of seven birdies in 10 holes helped him card a 65, Scheffler said he was proud of the way he finished the event. 

    "I think 'hectic' would probably be a good description," Scheffler said. "I'm fairly tired, definitely a lot more tired than I have been finishing some other tournaments.

    "I'm proud of today how we went out there and fought. I got off to a slow start and I was able to get some momentum and post a good round.

    "Yesterday obviously was quite frustrating and a bit of a different day, but overall proud of how I fought this week. Was fortunate to be out here competing, doing what I love."

    Asked whether his arrest had an impact on his performance, Scheffler said: "It's hard to tell. I think I would attribute it mostly to a bad day. 

    "I think when you come out here to compete, you're doing what you can throughout the course of the round to post a score and I wasn't able to get that done yesterday.

    "Did I feel like myself? Absolutely not. Was my warm-up the way it usually is and the distractions the way they normally are? Absolutely not. 

    "I got arrested Friday morning and I showed up here and played a good round of golf. So I've been good throughout my career at leaving the off-course distractions at home and keeping a pretty quiet personal life.

    "I'm not going to sit here and say that I played poorly yesterday because of what happened on Friday. I just had a bad day out on the course and was proud of how I came out here and bounced back today."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.