Factbox: 2014 British Open champion Rory McIlroy

Reuters

(Reuters) - Factbox on Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, who won the British Open Championship at Royal Liverpool by two strokes on Sunday.

Born May 4, 1989, in Holywood, Northern Ireland.

EARLY PROMISE

Supplied early evidence of his golfing skills when he hit a 40-yard drive at the age of two.

Represented Europe at the 2004 Junior Ryder Cup and capped a glittering amateur career by reaching the top of the world rankings and winning the European championship in 2006.

Turned professional in 2007 and claimed his first European Tour title at the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic by one stroke over Justin Rose and finishing second behind Lee Westwood in the 2009 European order of merit.

Produced a storming rookie season on the PGA Tour in 2010 and clinched his first title on the U.S. circuit after shooting a course record 10-under-par 62 to win the Quail Hollow Championship by four strokes.

MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH

Blew a four-shot lead in the final round of the 2011 Masters at Augusta, closing with an 80 to finish tied for 15th.

Rebounded from his Masters meltdown to win the 2011 U.S. Open by eight strokes with a record score of 16 under par.

Continued his fine form in 2012 and won the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina by a record eight shots, finishing 13 under par.

Won the 2012 Honda Classic in Florida to replace Luke Donald at the top of the PGA rankings, becoming the 16th player and second youngest to become number one.

Became the first European to win four PGA Tour events in a single season and is the only person other than Tiger Woods to win four events in a season since 2005.

McIlroy capped off an impressive 2012 by duplicating Luke Donald's 2011 feat of winning both the PGA Tour and European Tour money titles in the same year.

RETURN TO FORM

Signed a lucrative multi-year sponsorship deal with the U.S. sportswear firm Nike in January 2013.

Struggled to get to grips with his new equipment for much of the year and was criticized for withdrawing from the Honda Classic with tooth pain.

Announced split from Danish tennis player and fiancée Caroline Wozniacki just days before the start of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May 2014.

McIlroy bounced back to win the Wentworth showpiece event by one shot, his first title in 18 months.

(Reporting By Michael Hann, editing Tony Goodson)

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