Became just the third man in the modern era after Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus to win three majors by the age of 25, after dominating The 143rd Open Championship at Hoylake. Followed that sensational victory by picking up his first World Golf Championships title at the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational, before completing an extraordinary hat-trick of wins by fighting off Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson to claim his second US PGA Championship title, and consolidate his position as World Number One. Also prevailed at the European Tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, in 2014. Won The 2012 Race to Dubai after a memorable season during which he claimed his second Major Championship at the age of just 23 and signed off in style with victory in the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. Held off the challenges of Justin Rose and Luke Donald with a spectacular finish, birdieing each of the final five holes. Earlier in the season put in another magnificent performance to win his first US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.
Won his maiden Major title in commanding fashion – claiming the 2011 US Open at Congressional by an astonishing eight shots. With that first victory he became the youngest European Major winner in history and banished the memories of two months earlier at the Masters Tournament, where he led by four shots going into the final round but carded an 80 to fall way back. Pushed Luke Donald all the way in The 2011 Race to Dubai, winning the UBS Hong Kong Open – the season’s penultimate event – to take it to the wire, but ultimately had to settle for second, the same position he occupied in 2009 when Lee Westwood pipped him to the Harry Vardon Trophy. Had near-misses in Majors in 2010, coming tied third in both The Open Championship and the US PGA Championship, his opening 63 in the former at St Andrews the lowest first round in the history of the tournament.
Made his breakthrough on the US PGA Tour the same year, winning the Quail Hollow Championship after blitzing through the field with a final round 62 to beat Mickelson. Became the second 20 year old to break into the world’s top ten, after Sergio Garcia. Enjoyed a glittering amateur career during which he reached the top of the World Amateur Rankings and became the youngest winner of the prestigious Irish Amateur Championship in 2005. Caught the eye with a superb opening 68 in The 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie, the only bogey-free round of the day, and finished third in his second event as a professional, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. That earned him enough money to assure his place in the top 115 to be the then youngest and quickest Affiliate Member to secure his card – in just two events. Represented Europe in the 2004 Junior Ryder Cup and elevated to the real thing at The Celtic Manor Resort in October 2010, where he won two points out of four, including a crucial half in the singles against Stewart Cink on the final day. Followed that with three points from five to help Europe retain the trophy at Medinah in 2012.