McIlroy birdied the final two holes at St. George’s Golf and Country Club on Sunday as he finished on 19-under-par ahead of Americans Tony Finau and Justin Thomas.
“This is a day I’ll remember for a long, long time — 21st PGA Tour win, one more than someone else,” McIlroy told CBS. “That gave a little more extra incentive today and I’m happy to get it done.”
The comments seemed to allude to the 20 PGA Tour wins of Australian Norman, who is the face of the LIV Golf series.
Later on at the start of his press conference, McIlroy, a vocal supporter of the PGA Tour since news of the breakaway series emerged, also commented that he now has one more PGA Tour win than Norman.
The final day at St. George’s near Toronto was a tense affair. World No. 3 McIlroy went into the day in a tie for the lead with Finau, while Thomas was two shots behind in a three-way tie for second.
McIlroy had a three-shot lead at one stage, but missed a number of short putts to find himself tied with Thomas on 17-under after 16 holes.
He held his nerve, however, to finish two shots clear of Finau and take home $1,566,000 in prize money.
Thomas made consecutive bogeys on holes 17 and 18, allowing Finau to claim second place on his own.
Englishman Justin Rose briefly entered contention on Sunday as he shot a remarkable 10-under-par 60 to finish in a tie for fourth place.
McIlroy becomes the first player to win a non-major PGA Tour event back-to-back at two different courses since Jim Furyk did so at the Canadian Open in 2006 and 2007.
It also puts him among the favorites to win the US Open in Brookline, Massachusetts, when the tournament gets underway on Thursday.
“Overall, I thought it was a great week to prepare for the US Open,” McIlroy told reporters. “There’s no better way to prepare yourself for tournament golf than to be in contention, having to hit the shots when you need to. I proved this week that I can do that.”