08/10/2014

For anyone holding their cards close to their chest on the Rory McIlroy Era bandwagon, now may be the time to give in and concede. Rory owns golf.

After winning the 2014 PGA Championship, Rory McIlroy joined elite class golf history. His 4 majors place him with the likes of Raymond Floyd, Ernie Els and Bobby Locke on the all-time list, one behind Seve, Phil and Byron. There are only 19 players in golf history with more career major titles than Rory McIlroy. His game has been elevated from a ‘great player in his era’ to a ‘great player in the history of the game’. And in speaking of this era, it belongs to Rory exclusively.

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College football teams who find themselves out-matched will sometimes grow out their turf and rely on wet conditions to slow down fast teams. These conditions are designed to tighten up the margin of talent levels. Now, they may have slowed down Rory McIlroy, but he found a way to win despite them.

With Valhalla playing long, thick and wet, the field had an opportunity to play with Rory more than they maybe would have been able. The ability to stick 4-irons and 5-irons as though they were wedges narrowed Rory’s advantage a bit.

When Rory is blowing it past the field on a dry golf course, his ball would 1) chase further down the fairway (granted his average carry is still 300+ yards) and 2) give him shorter irons to approach with trajectory and higher spin rates, helping him stop the golf ball on firm surfaces. With this advantage not necessarily negated, but tightened, the field was gunning for Rory.

The leaderboard was incredible. I remember few tournaments in Tiger’s major championship arsenal where 4, 5 or even 6 of the world’s best players were catapulting themselves up the leaderboard the way this 2014 PGA Championship saw. Rory didn’t have to worry about 1 player making a run, he had to worry about Phil, Rickie, Henrik and Day to make runs, let alone the fact that Els already made a charge and his final pairing partner Bernd Weisberger had played so well all week. Rory didn’t even really possess his “A-game”.

I wrote two years ago about Rory’s potential in golf. How good could he be? I remember concluding with a brief statement– “he could be better than them all”, when referring to the slew of young, talented golfers in the world.

Young or old, youthful or experienced– it doesn’t matter. Rory McIlroy is better than everyone.

It is the Rory McIlroy Era. Let’s see how long we are privileged enough to enjoy it.

Troy tweets golf on Twitter @troy_usgolftv