Canada, Rory McIlroy chasing world number 2

Representing the home nation, Taylor returns to defend his title, accompanied by fellow Canadians Corey Conners, Taylor Pendrith, and Adam Hadwin

by Andrea Gussoni
Canada, Rory McIlroy chasing world number 2
© Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images Sport

This week marks the staging of the 2024 Canadian Open, sponsored by RBC, serving as the final chapter before the Memorial-US Open pairing, one of the most challenging stretches in global golf. Established in 1904, this event witnessed a homegrown player, Nick Taylor, reclaiming victory last year—an occurrence not seen since 1904.

Rory McIlroy, results

Prior to Taylor's triumph, Rory McIlroy clinched victory for two consecutive editions, with his back-to-back wins in 2019 and 2022, as the 2020 and 2021 editions were canceled due to Covid-19. Notably, McIlroy's 2019 victory occurred at this year's venue, the Hamilton Golf and Country Club, hosting the Canadian Open for the seventh time.

In essence, this marks an almost record-breaking achievement, as the club becomes the second most frequently selected venue for the Canadian Open, with seven occurrences. Topping the list is the unparalleled Glen Abbey Golf Course in Oakville, Ontario, hosting the event 30 times, almost continuously from 1977 to 2018.

Shifting focus to the competitive aspect, it's worth noting that McIlroy emerges as the natural favorite for this edition, not just because of the venue. His recent form, highlighted by a third-place finish at the Texas Open and victory at the Wells Fargo Championship, positions him as a formidable contender.

Moreover, McIlroy has the opportunity to reclaim the world number 2 ranking (with Scottie Scheffler absent on this occasion). Other notable contenders include Sahith Theegala (the American is poised to enter the OWGR top ten), Shane Lowry (the Irishman finished second in 2019 and is currently in excellent form), and Tommy Fleetwood (who lost in a playoff at the Canadian Open last year).

Representing the home nation, Taylor returns to defend his title, accompanied by fellow Canadians Corey Conners, Taylor Pendrith, and Adam Hadwin. Rory McIlroy was born in Holywood, Northern Ireland, and attended Sullivan Upper School.

He is a member of the Holywood Golf Club, where he began his training under the guidance of coach Michael Bannon, a partnership that has endured to this day. In 2004, McIlroy was part of the winning team at the Junior Ryder Cup, and the following year, in 2005, he became the youngest winner of both the West of Ireland Championship and the Irish Close Championship.

Also in 2005, at the North of Ireland Championship held at The Royal Portrush, McIlroy set a course record with a score of 61 at the age of 16, a record that remained unbeaten until 2019, coinciding with The Open Championship, also held at The Royal Portrush.

In August 2006, McIlroy won the European Amateur Championship held at the Golf Club Le Betulle in Biella, Piedmont, with a score of 274 strokes (65-69-72-68), three strokes better than Englishman Stephen Lewton. In October 2006, he represented Ireland in both the Eisenhower Trophy and the Amateur World Team Championship.

On February 6, 2007, McIlroy became the second man to top the World Amateur Golf Rankings, although he relinquished the top spot after just one week. McIlroy made a strong start at the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie, carding an opening round of 68, three under par, placing him temporarily in third place, three shots behind the leader.

He was also the only player in the field to complete the opening round without a bogey. In the second round, he shot 5 over par to move to +2 overall but still made the cut for the third round. He finished the third round with 2 over par and the fourth round with 1 over par, ultimately placing 42nd, the best among amateurs.

McIlroy represented Great Britain & Ireland at the 2007 Walker Cup. His debut on the European Tour came at the 2005 British Masters, just days after his sixteenth birthday. He made his first cut on the European Tour at the age of seventeen at the 2007 Dubai Desert Classic, where he had to forgo the €7,600 prize money due to his amateur status.

Rory Mcilroy