HOYLAKE, England (CBS) -- It wasn't quite the stroll in the park Rory McIlroy would have liked but in the end the Ulsterman was able to cruise to the 2014 Claret Jug with a final-round 71 to win by two.
When he started it looked like this major would look like his other two -- that is, complete and total routs.
McIlroy birdied the first to go up seven strokes on Rickie Fowler but then made two bogeys in his next five holes to open the door. And wouldn't you know it, our old friend Sergio Garcia strolled right on through.
Garcia pulled to within two of McIlroy on the back nine but a ghastly bunker shot on No. 15 ultimately undid him.
McIlroy finished with birdie-par-par on the final three holes and an exclamation-point 360-yard drive on No. 16 to effectively shut the door on Garcia and a late-charging Rickie Fowler.
"Keep going about my business," McIlroy told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi. "I knew Sergio was getting pretty close but I knew I still had the par 5s coming up on the back nine which gave me a little bit of a peace of mind."
His driver was immense all week but it was his putting that won him the tournament. He was, statistically, the fifth-best putter in the field at Hoylake.
With the win McIlroy becomes just the third golfer of the modern era (since the Masters started) to win three legs of the grand slam. The other two are pretty decent at golf: Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
"It's pretty hard to describe right now, to be honest, McIlroy told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi. "All I know is that I've won my third major championship and I'm three legs going towards the fourth towards a career grand slam at 25. I'm feeling pretty good right now."
"I feel like I've come a long way in the past 18 months. A lot has happened to me. My determination and hard work has really paid off."
He's also just the 16th golfer ever to win at least three of the four majors. That's heady stuff and the way he did it on Sunday was insanely impressive.
"It means an awful lot. This is the first major championship my mum's been at and to be able to see her on the back of the 18th, it was really nice. It's nice to be able to share a moment like this with them."
It wasn't the massacres his majors at Congressional and Kiawah were -- it was gutsy and headstrong, something McIlroy has been trying to grow into as a golfer. He nearly set the major championship scoring record in the process.
He's etched his name not only onto the Claret Jug for the rest of time but also onto the pages of golf history.