Twenty-five year old golfer Rory McIlroy led the 2014 British Open from wire-to-wire, finishing 17 under par for the tournament by shooting a 71 on Sunday. McIlroy has won his third Major tournament in golf’s Grand Slam in four years. A Masters green jacket will complete the collection.
The Northern Ireland gold prodigy burst on to the scene three years ago with a victory in the U.S. Open. A PGA Championship victory in 2012 resulted in comparisons to golf’s biggest and most recognizable superstar, Tiger Woods, currently ranked #9 in the world. Rory is unquestionable one of golf’s “Big Three” along with Woods and Phil Mickelson.
While McIlroy (or anyone else) will likely never, ever experience a tear like Woods did from the late 1990s through the late 2000s, his dominating win on Sunday confirmed that he is the next young superstar in a golfing world that has been starving for one since Woods personal and professional lives began to decline in 2009. The irony is that while Tiger is past his peak, he is far from done. On the back end of his prime, perhaps approaching his twilight as a top ranked player, Woods is emerging into a rival-mentor of McIlroy.
|After getting off to a promising start, Woods showed that he is far from "back". Ahead of schedule, perhaps...not "back". 2|
Woods recorded more wins in 2013 than any other golfer on the PGA Tour and was ranked #1 before undergoing back surgery and being absent from the Tour until earlier last month. After shooting an impressive 69 on Thursday in the Open Championship, Woods had faded to the back of the pack by Friday. The road to recovery from major surgery is long. But as long a Woods continues to recover, the emergence of McIlroy offers the potential for many compelling golf narratives in the coming years.
One conclusion is clear to me. McIlroy is at the top of golf’s summit in rare company. The game is much more interesting when he, Woods, Mickelson, or one of a few recognizable people are winning. In the golfing world, for the time being, Rory is the story.
|There is more to come with Rory, left, and Tiger, right. 3|
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1) Image from http://bbc.co.uk
2) Image from www.freep.com
3) Image from www.news.com.au