Historic. Dominating. Superlative. Brilliant. Those are merely feeble attempts to come up with a word that truly describes how good Rory McIlroy was yesterday. In winning the PGA Championship by 8 shots, Rory became the PGA Championship’s second youngest winner, but more impressively, he won by the largest margin of victory ever. At 23 years old, Rory joins the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only 23 year olds ever to capture the PGA Championship. That’s pretty decent company, no?
Seriously though, Rory’s final round 66 was arguably the best round of golf I’ve ever seen – the kid literally didn’t miss a shot. And make no mistake about it, Kiawah Island is a brutal course with trouble looming everywhere. McIlroy not only avoided all of the trouble, but he did so without showing anything resembling nerves – he was in total command the entire round. I recall Tiger’s 15 stroke victory at the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach, and while Rory didn’t win be 15, his final round was of that caliber. It may have even been better.
This kid’s the complete package – he bombs it, is flawless with his irons, great around the greens, and let’s just say he had 24 putts in his final 18 holes yesterday. Remarkable. Rory is simply proving what everyone has been saying all along – he has the 6th gear that the other players don’t. He’s got that freakish level of talent and the ability to go super low. Tiger is the only other player I’ve ever seen that out of. Color me impressed.
The win moves Rory to number one in the World Golf Rankings, and make no mistake about it, he’s the best player on the planet right now. That’s right, I said it – Rory McIlroy is a better golfer than Tiger Woods is right now. No doubt about it. And while Phil Mickelson has long been considered Tiger’s chief rival, I think it’s unquestionable that Rory will emerge as a much larger threat to Tiger in this second phase of his career. He’s got multiple majors already – both 8 shot victories – and at 23 years old, he’s got a real shot at being one of the greats. If Tiger regains his form, to see McIlroy and Woods go head to head when playing their best might be witnessing golf at the highest level it’s ever been played at.
Best of all, Rory seems like a an extremely likable champion. He seems as humble as could be for someone so talented, and he seemed genuinely giddy with joy following his performance yesterday. All those female golf fans that now hate Tiger’s guts? They’re going to love Rory. But perhaps more importantly, Rory’s performance yesterday will undoubtedly grab the attention of his peers. They all knew he was awesome already, but Rory just scared the heck out of his fellow touring pros. Remember how the rest of the guys used to look at Tiger? Rory just put the tour on notice – you know you can’t beat him when he’s at his best, and he knows it as well.