- Full name Rory McIlroy
- Birth date May 4, 1989
- Birth place Holywood, Northern Ireland
- Current age 26 years 156 days
- Height 5 ft 9 in
Rory McIlroy has long been held in high regard, having earned rave reviews in the junior ranks, and he has transferred that to the highest level by winning his first major at the age of 22.
Prior to turning pro in 2007, McIlroy won a string of tournaments on the amateur circuit and helped Europe's team win the 2004 Junior Ryder Cup.
Hardened golf fans were aware of his talents through the early part of the previous decade, but he burst on to the scene when winning the Silver Medal for the top amateur at the 2007 Open Championship - having posted the only bogey-free round in the first round at Carnoustie.
McIlroy turned pro shortly afterwards and finished third in his second professional event, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. The young Ulsterman made steady progress in 2008, breaking into the world top 100, and a play-off defeat at the UBS Hong Kong Open at the start of 2009 propelled him into the top 50.
McIlroy's debut victory on tour came in the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic, when he showed nerves of steel to hold off Justin Rose by a single shot.
He had a fine end to 2009 and was pipped to the Race To Dubai by Lee Westwood, but he did become only the second 20-year-old, the other being Sergio Garcia, to break into the world's top 10.
His form in 2010 was solid, he recorded his first win on the PGA Tour at the Quail Hollow Championship, but he failed to turn a string of promising positions into regular wins.
He made his Ryder Cup debut in the success in 2010 at Celtic Manor and after taking the decision to hand back his PGA Tour card, looked to be on course for a breakthrough campaign in 2011 - especially with two top three finishes at major events (The Open and US PGA) already under his belt.
That proved to be the case - although not as quickly as initially expected. He suffered a meltdown when leading after three rounds of The Masters in April 2011 only to shoot 80 in his final round - but he put those woes behind him by storming to a stunning victory in the US Open at Congressional.
It was a dominant display reminiscent of Tiger Woods at Augusta in 1997, although he failed to follow it up as he moaned his way through the Open Championship and damaged his wrist at the US PGA. He won twice at the end of the year to see his star rise further, however, and yet another win - at the Honda Classic - saw him rise to world No. 1 for a brief period in 2012.
A downturn in form followed as McIlroy appeared distracted by his ongoing relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, with his performances at both the US Open and Open Championship failing to live up to increasingly high expectations. But a return to a long and soft major championship course for the US PGA saw a return to winning ways - McIlroy becoming the third youngest double major winner in the modern era with another memorable eight-shot victory, this time at Kiawah Island.
Far from resting on his laurels, McIlroy kicked on in pursuit of the PGA and European Tour money lists. Finishing third in the regular season FedEx standings, he won three of the four play-off events to top the standings, becoming the first European to win four PGA events in a season, a feat matched only by Tiger Woods in 2005.
After helping Europe win the Ryder Cup - albeit after nearly missing his singles tee time on the final day - McIlroy then set his sights on European Tour victory, with top-three finishes at the BMW Masters and the Singapore Open proving enough to take the title, finishing the season in style with victory at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Career high: McIlroy proved he can cut it at the highest level by leading from start to finish to win the US Open by eight shots at Congressional in 2011.
Career low: Suffered total meltdown in the 2011 Masters. He produced imperious golf for three rounds to take a four-shot lead into the final 18 holes. He led by one at the turn, before a triple bogey seven on the 10th set him on a slippery slope towards an 80 and a share of 15th place.
Quote: "I expect a lot of myself. I put myself under the most pressure, because I want to do well. I don't really let what people say affect my game. As long as I can live up to my own expectations, I am doing okay."
Trivia: He was the second 20-year-old to break into the world's top ten in the world rankings, after Sergio Garcia, and the second youngest world No. 1 in history - after Tiger Woods. In 2012 he became the third youngest double major winner in the modern era - behind Jack Nicklaus and Seve Ballesteros, but ahead of Woods.
- Lee Westwood says Open moving to Sky is a 'disgrace' (Feb 1, 2015)
- McIlroy makes charge, Kuchar leads (Aug 23, 2013)
- McIlroy & Scott commit to Australian Open (Aug 19, 2013)
- McIlroy upbeat after top-10 finish (Aug 12, 2013)
Rory's rousing finish keeps him in the hunt (Aug 10, 2013)