Somewhat lost in the sporting news this past weekend was one hell of a golf tournament. Tiger Woods showed the world for the first time that he still has that sixth gear, shooting a career best 62 after many considered him to be out of contention. The round would force young Rory McIlroy to play flawless golf coming in, and he did just that to capture the Honda Classic. At 22 years old, Rory McIlroy is one day shy of three years younger than me – and for the first time in his life, he’s the best golfer on the planet. God damn I’m jealous, but I think most golf fans are happy to see Rory claim golf’s throne.
McIlroy first won on the European tour in 2009, first won on the PGA tour in 2010, and first won a major in 2011. Much like Woods, winning was not a problem at an early age – it was an expectation. Rory has now won 2 PGA tour tournaments, 2 European tour tournaments, and the 2011 US Open. It’s far to soon to call him Tiger’s rival, and Tiger isn’t the Tiger we’ve always known at this point anyways. Regardless, the golfing world can’t help but drool thinking about if these two guys are able to both hit their stride this season. I think Sunday’s Honda tournament was merely a sneak peek at a showdown we’ll see again later this year.
McIlroy seeming has it all at the moment – he’s got an explosive game, that shows no real flaws tee to green. He’s got confidence, at this point bordering on the cockiness that I think is required of any World #1. He’s got the Irish thing going on, he’s affable, and he’s got the support of his fellow pros. Padraig Harrington and Geoff Ogilvy, to name two, are a couple of the more recent players with championship caliber games to sing Rory’s praises. “Since the first day I saw him play, he was a level above us,” said Ogilvy.
I for one am a McIlroy fan, and I do think that he’ll push Tiger someday. I’m not jumping on the “heir apparent’ bandwagon just yet – we heard that with the likes of Anthony Kim, and others, who ultimately faded. But as far as the young guns go I consider Rory to be the best, followed shortly thereafter by Dustin Johnson.
Most of the golfing world doesn’t truly awaken until the Masters. I suspect Rory will be the favorite – but Tiger will be the one slipping into the green jacket.