Tuesday, June 21, 2011
While it is certainly too early to compare McIlroy to Tiger, the young Northern Irishman's dominance this past weekend at the Congressional was very Woods-esque. McIlroy set an open record for a 36 hole score, and never was challenged the entire tournament. It wasn't just the numbers that tell the whole picture, it was McIlroy's performance on the course. Time and time again he played flawless golf, nailing fairways with his drives, hitting chip shots that stopped inches from the hole, and never letting up. It was truley a performance for the ages, and could be the beginning of a very long and storied career.
It is still too early to compare McIlroy to Woods, who has won 14 majors and dominated the sport for several years (and may not be finished). At the very least, someone has stepped up to be Tiger's young, gifted challenger. Golf feels a lot like Tennis did several years ago, when Rafael Nadal was emerging as a threat to Roger Federer, who had single-handedly dominated the sport for several years. The competition between the two was good for tennis, and a potential McIlroy-Woods rivalry would be great for golf.
Monday, April 11, 2011
The 2011 Masters will go down as one of the wildest in history, with several storylines that weaved together to provide plenty of drama on golf's biggest stage. However, when the smoke cleared, it was Charl Schwartzel who was wearing the green jacket.
Before Schwartzel made his dominant run to claim the jacket, golf fans had gotten everything they could ever want from a Masters tournament. There was the triumphant return of Tiger Woods for starters. Woods made a furious comeback to take a share of the lead, only to run out of steam on the last nine holes. While Woods ended up tying for fourth place, the tournament was a lot more suspensful with him in the mix. If Tiger continues to improve, he may yet again be the world's best golfer. If this weekend was any indication, he is on his way.
Then there was the epic collapse of poor Rory McIlroy, the young phenom from Northern Ireland who entered the final round with a four stroke lead. McIlroy then proceeded to shoot an 8 over 80, the worst final round in Masters history for a player who entered the day with the lead. McIlroy will be back, however his collapse will sting for a long time.
While all the drama of McIlroy and Woods was hogging the headlines, Aussies Adam Scott and Jason Day silently kept playing tremendous golf. Each would finish just short, however, as Schwartzel ended up being nearly unbeatable. The South African finished his final round with four straight birdies, never letting Scott or Day sniff the lead despite their incredible play. Schwartzel is the ninth ranked golfer in the world according to ESPN, so his win wasn't too much of a surprise. However, he has now joined the elite company of golfers who own a major championship, and certainly earned it.