LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — Success just keeps on coming for Rory McIlroy, but the world’s No. 1 golfer is already targeting more.
McIlroy became the first player since Padraig Harrington in 2008 to win back-to-back majors Sunday as he claimed the U.S. PGA Championship just three weeks after getting his hands on the British Open.
The 25-year-old battled back from a poor start to his final day at Valhalla to card a three-under-par 68 and finish one shot clear of second-placed Phil Mickelson.
The victory — the second time McIlroy has captured the Wanamaker Trophy — means he has now won three straight tournaments, having also triumphed at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last week.
The Northern Irishman, though, has already turned his attention to claiming a fifth major at the Masters next year — the only one missing from a career grand slam collection.
After a disappointing 2013, and then the breakup of his long-term relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, McIlroy is now firmly focused on achieving his golfing goals.
“I’ve realized this year that we only have one go at this, we only have a certain time span as a career,” he said.
“Golf careers are typically longer than other sporting careers but there’s only a certain window, and every tournament you don’t win is a missed opportunity.”
Augusta was the scene of his final-day collapse in 2011 in which he dropped a four-shot lead to ultimately finish 10 strokes off the pace.
“I didn’t want to go to Augusta next year having not won this,” McIlroy told CNN after Sunday’s victory in near darkness after a weather delay.
“I wanted to go to Augusta with four major championships, and I want to go to Augusta next year trying to win five and trying to win the career grand slam.
“I’ve refocused and I’ve rededicated myself and this is important to me. This is my career and I want to make the most of it.”
McIlroy will also be hoping to join an elite club by winning three consecutive majors.
Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods are the only professional golfers to have achieved such a feat, but McIlroy is confident he has what it takes to join the trio of golfing greats.
“Going to Augusta next year, trying to complete the career grand slam for a start, and then trying to complete the third leg (winning three straight majors) — I’m going to go to Augusta next year with a lot of expectation and a lot of hype, and one thing that I need to do is try to handle those,” he said.
“I know Augusta is a good course for me and I have to beat the same guys that I beat this week, and I have to try and beat the same guys that I try and beat week-in, week-out.
“That gives me a lot confidence, knowing that I can handle this sort of pressure down the stretch of a major, and that gives me a lot of confidence going into Augusta next year.”