This kid has some nerve. He’s got Caroline Wozniacki in tow as the girlfriend, he’s got the winning smile with the laser like irons.
He’s got about $8 Million in earnings on the PGA Tour alone due to 4 wins. His hot summer has yielded 3 trophies in the last month, and it feels Tiger like. It doesn’t compare in reality, but for a moment Sunday afternoon, it felt like it. Birdies at 15 and 16 down the stretch proved to be the difference maker.
As loaded as the leader board may have been, with Tiger, Vijay, Phil and Westwood contending, there was something to be afraid of regarding the state of each of their golf games…except for Rory’s.
Coming off of a thrilling win the previous weekend outside of Boston at the Deutsche Bank Championship, it felt like Rory’s presence was just about enough to give him the X Factor at Crooked Stick. The birdie fest is clearly Rory’s favorite tournament, as both of his major triumphs ended with him in double digits under par. In his last 8 rounds in the Fedex Cup Playoffs, the 23-year-old McIlroy is a whopping 40 under par, averaging 5 shots under par every time he tees it up. Imagine knowing you’re going to go that low every day you step on to the course? Keep dreaming…
As for the Tour, it’s a week off before the Fedex Cup finale at East Lake in Atlanta. $10 Million is on the table for the Fedex Cup Champion, and it’s definitely McIlroy’s to lose. So, will he make it his to win?
So, I guess Rory only knows how to win majors in blowout fashion. Amidst speculation that his romance with Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki was a “distraction,” and with his focus to golf called into question, Rory McIlroy shut up all the critics Sunday. His 8 shot victory at the PGA Championship Sunday gave the 23-year-old his second major championship.
“It’s funny how things work out,” McIlroy said. “I felt from the start of the week that it could be special.”
Rory put on a ball-striking exhibition and dominated Kiawah Island over the weekend, shooting 67-66 under windy, far from ideal conditions. No bogeys on the scorecard Sunday. 8 for 8 scrambling around the greens in his final round. Capped off the victory with 2 out of 3 birdies to roll into the clubhouse. What pressure?
The way he puts the accelerator into 2nd and 3rd gear reminds us of the old Tiger Woods…a little bit. Now that Rory has two major triumphs at such an early point in his career, we let the Tiger comparisons flow in. By age 23, Woods did have a few more majors in his trophy room, so it’s hard to accurately measure how Rory’s career will unfold from here.
Since the Tiger era was thrown upon us, it’s hard for anyone to truly live up to expectations in the world of golf. However, Rory has come closer than any other young star in the last decade. Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood all stepped up to the world number one plateau in the past couple of years. Seen any one of them win a big tournament recently? Not even with a pin point GPS…
Rory’s back at #1 again. He’s going to be here for a while. He’s young, so distractions are inevitable, mini-slumps are likely, and defeats in future majors are probable, but he has a game to last a looong time. His sultry smooth swing better not be played around with, and his blissful ignorance to the pressure-packed moments is refreshing.
How many majors will he win? Who knows. How long will he stay at the top. No clue (those world rankings are confusing anyways). Is he fun to watch? Hell yes.
Amidst the Olympics, the MLB season, Jets training camp overhype on ESPN, and another Sunday collapse from Jim Furyk, a 21-year-old named Ben Kohles sits at the bottom of the sports headlines. I don’t know if he minds that or not, but I know he’s gonna be laughing to the bank this week.
The recent college grad from UVA decided to turn pro a few weeks ago, and with good reason. After being a two-time ACC Player of the Year and a 3-time All-American in his college career, he took to the Web.com Tour (formerly the Nationwide Tour) for his pro debut. Merely six days after announcing his decision to go pro, he won in his first professional start…in a playoff…over a fellow all-american in Luke Guthrie. Kohles drained a birdie putt on the 2nd playoff hole to hoist the trophy and give himself an instant membership on the Web.com Tour. Life-changing stuff, right?
Please, he was just getting started.
The headlines were flowing in last Monday, as Kohles became the first professional golfer to ever win his first event as a pro. He had already made history, so how could he top at the next event?
You guessed it, he won the damn thing. 2 for 2. Two events as a pro, two wins. 100% batting average as a professional golfer. His final round 64 gave Kohles a 3 shot victory and a guaranteed PGA Tour card for 2013, because of his position on the money list. Kohles can book tickets for Hawaii, Palm Springs, and Pebble Beach. That’s quite a change from Senior Week dorm parties at the University of Virginia!
So, how is Kohles reacting to this whirlwind two weeks, going from obscurity to future PGA Tour member?
“My head’s been spinning,” Kohles said by phone Monday. “It’s totally been a dream come true. I never expected anything like this to happen to me. It was way beyond any of my wildest expectations and it’s still kind of hard to take it all in. But now, of course, I want to make it three straight…I’d love to be at the PGA, but maybe I’ll be there next year or one day,” Kohles said. “It’s great to be where I am, too, and just having this much good fortune so early. I couldn’t ask for more. I realize it can’t go on forever, but it’s fun trying.”
Or could it go on forever??? Kohles’ next tournament starts Thursday. 3 for 3 anyone?
I’m cocky in regards to both the Men’s and Women’s (for that matter) chances at the gold medal in London. The Women are trouncing teams by 40 and 50. Now it’s counting at the Olympic Games, so they are a straight lock from here on out for the betters out there. The Men’s team rolled to an easy win Sunday versus a Tony Parker, Ronny Turiaf-led Team France. They play Tunisia Tuesday evening. I’ll send you a 20 if you can name an NBA player on Team Tunisia.
The reason to be cocky and proliferate the American stereotype that we are conceited to no end is the talent and depth on Team USA’s roster. Here’s a scary thought: this team is minus an injured Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose. WOw…
Want some some scoring? We’ve got Kobe, Melo, Lebron, and Durant to choose from. Have a rebounding fetish? We can play Kevin Love, Tyson Chandler and Lebron down low with any two point guards and match up with anybody. Ever need some assists and leadership? Chris Paul and Deron Williams are at attention and ready to handle the crap out of the ball. Want a little sizzle off the bench? Look no further than OKC Thunder lightning rods James Harden and Westbrook, who teamed with Durant to win the Western Conference this year. Who can coach these guys? Coach K of the Duke Blue Devils. I’m sure you’ve heard that name before.
The objections have responses, and the questions have answers. Chris Paul took a look down the row of Team USA ballers in their introductory presser at the Olympics and muttered, “We’re not all going be off at the same time. Someone will be hot.” It really is just a numbers game for Team USA. As long a couple guys are feelin’ it on offense, the defense is just the team buying into a concerted effort. That’s really all they need to beat a Team Spain or Team Argentina in the gold medal game. Bulls GM Jerry Colangelo (pictured in suit, right) really put together a monster of a team. Now, it’s up to the guys on the floor to make Olympic gold repeating a reality.
After a riveting finish at the 141st Open Championship, all we can say is “wow.” Just as major championships should be, Sunday was numbingly unpredictable. As we recorded our preview podcast, I picked Adam Scott as the sleeper of the week. Apparently the sleeper finally knocked out for the back 9 on Sunday. Still, the question remains, was it Adam Scott’s choke job, or Ernie Els comeback victory? Here’s both sides of the coin:
1. This is a choke job by Adam Scott at it’s finest. He was in control of the tournament for the majority of the weekend, and had shots to play with on the back nine. He was 5 shots up at one point, but his nerves got the best of him. The story of the championship is Adam Scott blowing the lead and finishing the day with 4 bogies in a row.
2. This was Ernie’s win! He shot 32 on the back nine, which is definitely the way to close on Sunday. Ernie has blown majors, and won 4 before, so he was in a great position to post a score, and that’s what he did. He poured in a 15 footer on the 18th to get to 7 under, and it was the putt for the win. Els went out and won his 4th major, and that’s the story.
Whichever side you lie on is up to you, but Sunday at the British Open yet again lived up to lofty expectations. Today had the makings of a snooze fest, but drama always comes at the right moment in golf’s major championships. The wind kicked up, the bunkers received a lot more visits, and the scores flew up into the 70′s. Hats off to The Big Easy, who now joins a small club of golfers to win 2 U.S. Opens and 2 British Opens. He may have got some help from a ladies man named Adam, but he did what he had to down the stretch to win. Here’s to you, Ernie! Raise a pint and drink it from the Claret Jug