On a closing Sunday of great golf at the 143rd
McIlroy shot 71 and it was low enough.
The 25-year-old from Northern Ireland won by two shots, collecting his third major title and thrilling the fans of his home United Kingdom.
His 71 on the par-72 links course wrapped up a 72-hole run of 66-66-68-71—271 and effectively held veteran challenger
McIlroy was one of two top 10 finishers who failed to shoot in the 60s in the final round. Victor Dubuisson shot 70 and shared ninth place.
"I'm happy that I gave myself enough cushion," McIlroy said, "because there were a lot of guys coming at me, especially Sergio and Rickie."
Those two shared second place at 15-under 273. Garcia closed with a 66, Fowler with a 67.
Right behind in fourth place was veteran
Others going low on yet another day of unseasonably mild climates and low wind were former
But it was McIlroy with the big smile and the Claret Jug afterward.
"It feels absolutely incredible," he said. "It's sort of cool that they put your name on it even before you get it."
The engraver had a bit of a break this time. McIlroy entered the final round with a six-shot lead.
He even overcame a rowdy spectator who, on the 16th hole, pushed the young Irishman's patience over the edge.
"He was giving me grief all day, actually," McIlroy said. "And I sort of put up with it for the first 15 holes, and then he deliberately coughed in my backswing on the 16th tee. I still hit a great drive. But I heard it halfway down and I knew who it was. So I turned and got him chucked, thankfully."
The spectator was last seen surrounded by police officers, who were accompanying him elsewhere.
McIlroy was last seen tapping in a two-inch putt for the victory, which added the British to his already achieved U.S. Open (2011) and
Garcia twice cut the six-stroke lead to two but lost any real chance of catching McIlroy when he left a shot in a greenside pot bunker on the 15th hole.
"Obviously, 15 was a mistake," Garcia said. "But like I said before, when you know you can't make a mistake, it's hard."
Fowler said that his friend McIlroy avoided the pressure of a close finish by playing the right way.
"He drove it well all day," Fowler said, "and didn't really put much pressure on himself. Once he drove it in the fairway on No. 16 and gave himself an easy birdie there, it was going to be tough to catch him."
It was Fowler's second straight runner-up finish in a major. He was second to runaway winner
Asked about his emotions after this one, Fowler pointed to the biggest plus.
He will be a lock for Captain Tom Watson's team for the match against Europe in Scotland in October.
Two players not yet a lock are the two most prominent U.S. players, Tiger Woods and
Woods and Mickelson made the cut here. Woods had a closing 75 for 294, which was, interestingly, five shots worse than Watson's final score. The 64-year-old Watson closed with a four-under 68.
Mickelson, the defending champion, also finished with a 68 and shared 23rd.