Paul Jannace: McIlroy doing what Tiger used to do
GateHouse News ServiceA dominant, young golfer made it look easy in his red shirt on championship Sunday.
Anyone wishing to catch this man was left helpless because he was simply too good. Instead of a bogey here and there to keep hope alive for the rest of the field, this man kept increasing his lead and left the golf world in the dust.
That man is not Tiger Woods ... It’s Rory McIlroy.
The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland not only won his second major championship, but he again did it in more convincing fashion than anyone has done before.
Woods always wears red during the final round of tournaments, and it became a symbol of his dominance. McIlroy just happened to be wearing red on Sunday at the PGA?Championship and turned in a performance worthy of Tiger’s best days.
What McIlroy did this weekend is what Woods used to do — remove all drama and hope at a major tournament. For the second time in a little more than a year, McIlroy won a major tournament by eight strokes.
Woods played well on Friday and Saturday and spent much of those 48 hours in the lead with his 15th major title in sight. Unfortunately for Woods, he is simply an ordinarily good golfer now.
Tiger leads the money list with nearly $5 million in earnings this year, and also had the most Ryder Cup and FedEx Cup points with three wins and six top-10 finishes in 2012. That would be a great year for most people, but not Tiger.
Woods never aspired to be ordinary; he always said he measured his success by the number of majors he won. For nearly an entire decade, Tiger did that better than anyone and figured one day he’d do it better than anyone ever did it.
What Tiger used to have is a killer instinct. If he had a lead at a major, he would not relinquish it, and usually kept adding to that lead on Sunday.
Woods has mysteriously struggled on Saturday and Sunday at majors, this year especially, after posting rounds in the 60s on Thursday and Friday.
McIlroy, meanwhile, is doing what Tiger used to do. Erasing the memory of his 2011 Augusta meltdown with two historic performances in majors and leaving little doubt who the best player in the world is right now.
Golf has needed Tiger to be Tiger, but if McIlroy has more days like those, and golf will need Rory to be Rory.
True greatness can be measured in how someone handles failure, and McIlroy has kicked his failure at Augusta in the behind. In his first major following a memorable collapse at The Masters, McIlroy set the scoring record at the U.S. Open at Congressional. On Sunday, McIlroy broke Jack Nicklaus’ record for largest margin of victory at the PGA?Championship.
McIlroy is the youngest player since Seve Ballesteros in 1980 to win two majors — four months younger than Tiger Woods when he won his second major.
While McIlroy can’t be placed in Tiger territory just yet, we may finally be seeing someone who is talented enough to put together the type of dominant run Woods did in the early 2000s.
It’ll be interesting and fun to watch McIlroy over these next five years and see if he can capture the consistent dominance Woods used to have when he truly was the odds-on favorite each week.
Golf has sorely missed Tiger and needs McIlroy to take the torch if Tiger can no longer carry it. Several have tried to match Tiger, but he destroyed everything in his path.
It’s McIlroy’s turn to try and become the man everyone else chases.
No matter what, McIlroy should keep wearing red on?Sundays — it suits him well.
Follow Paul Jannace on Twitter @pjscribe