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Rory McIlroy in the company of legends

Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy's drives were the most powerful in the field.Rory McIlroy reached an elite plateau with his victory at the Open Championship on Sunday.

The 25-year-old McIlroy is the third-youngest player in the Masters era to win three majors and the third-youngest to win three legs of the career Grand Slam, trailing only Jack Nicklaus (23) and Tiger Woods (24).

McIlroy is now a Masters win away from joining the small group of players who have won the career Grand Slam. Those in that club are Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Nicklaus and Woods.

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McIlroy became the seventh player to win the Open Championship in wire-to-wire fashion (without ties) and joins Woods and Raymond Floyd as the only players with multiple wire-to-wire major wins.

The last time consecutive majors were won in wire-to-wire fashion was in 2005, when Woods won the Open Championship at St Andrews and Phil Mickelson won the PGA Championship at Baltusrol.

McIlroy finished the week at 17-under-par 271, one shot off the Royal Liverpool scoring record set by Woods in 2006 and two shots off the record for most strokes under par at a major (Woods at the 2000 Open Championship).

What made McIlroy so good?

He led the field with an average drive of 327.8 yards, shot 12-under on the par-5 holes and tied for the best in the field at 12-under on the back-nine holes.

McIlroy reached seven par-5s in two shots, creating frequent opportunities to two-putt for birdie.

Sergio Garcia, who finished tied for second, notched his first top-five finish since the 2008 PGA Championship -- 23 majors ago. He tied with Rickie Fowler, who became the first golfer to shoot four Open Championship rounds in the 60s and not win since Ernie Els in 2004.

Woods shot a final-round 75 to finish 69th. It’s his worst finish as a pro at a major where he made the cut.

There have now been 25 straight majors without a Woods victory. He falls behind Nicklaus’ major pace, as Nicklaus won his 15th major at The Open Championship at the age of 38.