This article written by Derek Lawrenson and published at the dailymail.co.uk is an awesome read. Rory McIlroy truly is in rarified air at the moment and from the look of things, he is in position to dominate the game for the foreseeable future.
Derek makes the following points to begin his piece…
- McIlroy will now only be compared to Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods
- He has pulled alongside the likes of Raymond Floyd and Ernie Els on the all-time majors list following his triumph at the US PGA Championship
- McIlroy ranks as the third most successful European golfer in majors. Only Seve Ballesteros (five) and Sir Nick Faldo (six) have won more
… In the hometown of The Greatest, it seemed only appropriate to talk about 12 rounds. Twelve rounds of golf that have changed the sport’s landscape entirely and will go down in the annals as creating a new standard for the European game.
Spread over three tournaments, what began in bright sunlight on the ancient links at Hoylake at The Open in July ended on Sunday in darkness on the modern stadium course at Valhalla in Louisville.
Rory McIlroy went into those trio of events with doubts about his ability to play the most venerable form of the game; with freaky Fridays swirling his conscience.
He ends them the complete player, having shown a mastery of every shot and emotion. The only players he will ever be compared to again are Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. While he will surely never reach the majors total of the former, or assume quite the level of dominance of the latter, he might actually have more strings to his bow than either.
For even the two guardians of the record books had weaknesses. Nicklaus was never a great chipper or bunker player while Woods never won a major coming from behind on the final day. But where is Rory’s weakness, after these 12 rounds?
At Hoylake he showed his ability to learn an alien form, for links play was never his forte; at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, a prowess to dominate an event from start to finish. And then at Valhalla came the gossamer touch and all the guts and heart a golfer can display.
McIlroy went into the stretch as a two-time major champion and ends it having doubled his haul and claimed his first WGC title. He has now pulled alongside the likes of Raymond Floyd and Ernie Els on the all-time majors list with seemingly all his best years to come.
He played those 12 rounds in a cumulative total of 48 under, never once going over par and only once — in the final round of The Open, where he shot 71 — did he fail to break 70.
It is worth printing in mind-boggling sequence, for we may never see the like again, given the stature of the tournaments they were delivered in: 66, 66, 68, 71, 69, 64, 66, 66, 66, 67, 67, 68.
The weekend we have just witnessed is right up there with any major you care to mention. It boiled down to four ball strikers performing close to the peak of their powers. We had a five-time major champion in Phil Mickelson; Henrik Stenson rewinding the clock a year and Rickie Fowler hoping to show that while the future might be Rory green, it will have a fairly prominent hue of orange.