Three major golf championships are in the books for the 2013-2014 season, with incredible and often times flawless execution, golf fans are still pining for a dramatic Sunday Tiger-like charge to fuel that once on-edge, dying interest in the majors.
Rory McIlroy entered Sunday’s final round at the British Open with a six stroke lead over Rickie Fowler and a seven stroke lead over Sergio Garcia. By all accounts, these three players are big household names in the sport of golf for one reason or another. Fowler and Garcia did their best to push through the pressure of an Open Championship to throw their A game at McIlroy and cut the winning margin to two strokes. Fowler notched his third consecutive top 10 in a major and Garcia earned his fourth 2nd place finish in a major. Garcia said after Sunday’s final round,
“It was close, it was close. At least I’m proud of the way I played. I wanted to at least make him [McIlroy] feel a little bit and see how he would respond. He obviously responded well. I got within two but every time I got closer he kept making one birdie and not letting me get any closer than that. Overall I thought it was a great week.”
But in the end, McIlroy proved to be determined, poised, confident and under control to hoist the Claret Jug. McIlroy has now joined an allusive club with Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, as being the only three players in professional golf history to win three different major championships at age 25 or younger.
McIlroy has tremendous golf skills. He can hit it long and straight with pure finesse around the greens and a putting stroke smooth as silk that can roll in a clutch putt time and time again. He has now proved on three different occasions, with three different circumstances that he can withstand the pressure of these major championships. McIlroy is a young and confident man who avid golf fans and media alike are trying to make the next super-star; the next Tiger Woods.
But is McIlroy’s game or mental aptitude suitable to be as consistent as Woods was in the early 2000’s? As of right now, the body of work indicates the answer is no. And golf viewers aren’t jumping at the opportunity to watch McIlroy’s dominance like they did with Woods. ESPN’s Sunday overnight rating was a 2.6 compared to Woods’ 2006 victory at Hoylake at a 3.9, per tv by the numbers.
Time will tell what McIlroy brings to the game of golf and what his legendary status will be. However, when the young man’s game is firing on all cylinders, he truly has as much talent, desire and shot making ability to marvel any casual fan. And even spark a debate, is McIlroy’s best better than Woods’ best?