Sunday, August 12, 2012

Rory McIlroy Outclasses the Field Again

Two down, 16 to go!
It's not often that in sport, a player is so good that nobody can beat him when he is at his best.  I have been blessed to witness two such athletes in my lifetime in Tiger Woods and Roger Federer - and there may just be another on the horizon.

Rory McIlroy became the youngest player ever to win the PGA Championship on Sunday afternoon, obliterating the field to the tune of an eight shot victory for his second major championship in 14 months. Recovering admirably from a three-over 75 on Friday, the Northern Irishman would shoot five-under 67 in his third round and a bogey-free, six-under 66 in his final round.  Over his final 18 holes, McIlroy was in total control, never faltering and leaving everyone in the dust for the second time in the last seven majors.  Continuing to learn from his collapse at Augusta in April of 2011, he held his 54-hole lead to perfection.

On a course that had danger around every dog leg, McIlroy was stupendous, saving par on numerous occasions from the rough, the sand, and wood chips. Especially remarkable were his saves on both the 10th and 14th holes.  Way left off the tee, McIlroy muscled shots out of the rough and sank seven-footers for par on a day where he simply could not miss with his putter.  That has been the theme with McIlroy in his brief career; when he putts well, he is almost unbeatable.  The World Number One has now won his two majors by a combined 16 strokes, an incredible figure.

It certainly seems as though Congressional in 2011 was not a fluke, and that McIlroy truly is the real deal.  With this win, McIlroy joins rarefied air, squeaking between Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus for the age of his second major win.  Woods was slightly older, Nicklas slightly younger; you know the rest of their stories as two of the greatest to ever play the game.

Woods predictably fell off following a good opening two days in which he totaled four under par.  Woods, who has not won a major since he did so on one leg at the 2008 US Open, relied on his putter on Thursday and Friday and was near the top throughout the first two days despite only hitting seven of 18 greens on Friday.  Once his putts stopped falling, he had no answer for Kiawah's long approach shots.  It will once again be a long 8 months for the former best player in the world.

Get ready for a fun fall on this new blog - now covering all sports.

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