Blogs & Opinion

Magical McIlroy

'Sensational performance shows pedigree of 23-year-old'

Rob Lee Posted 13th August 2012 view comments

Rory McIlroy produced an amazing performance to win the US PGA Championship and was in a league of his own at Kiawah Island.

The Northern Irishman won by a record eight shots on what is one of the toughest golf courses in America.

Unfortunately for Rory his victory came on the final day of the Olympic Games so his success was lost a little, with the media's attention on the excitement and fireworks in east London.

Marvellous McIlroy: Rory was in fine form at Kiawah Island, says Rob

Marvellous McIlroy: Rory was in fine form at Kiawah Island, says Rob

But this was a victory - and performance - that will live long in McIlroy's memory and confirms the prodigious talent of the 23-year-old.

He has now secured the second major of his career - four months younger than when Tiger Woods took his second major - and is now perhaps in a position where he could go on and dominate the game at the top level for a long time.

This was a victory - and performance - that will live long in McIlroy's memory and confirms the prodigious talent of the 23-year-old.

Rob Lee
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I've always said that Rory's A-game can only be matched by an in-form Tiger Woods and that proved true at Kiawah Island, where he just put his foot on the accelerator and pulled away from the rest of the field.

Ian Poulter had a sensational start to day four, birdieing six of his first seven holes, but Rory never panicked. That shows how far Rory has come as a player. Everyone remembers his dramatic collapse at Augusta in 2011, when he threw away a four-shot lead on the final day, but if life is a learning curve, then he's certainly learning quickly. Rather like at Congressional last year, the youngster kept his focus, even when Poulter - who was also looking to secure a Ryder Cup spot - got to within two shots of the lead. Rory stuck to his game plan and produced a spell-binding performance.

Rory should rightly revel in this victory but, looking to the future, the next goal for him is to carve out some consistency and defend his world number one status. In his pomp, Tiger Woods was able to churn out top performances week-in, week-out. That was something we hadn't seen before. We've seen glimpses of that from Rory - he was in fine form at the turn of the year. But now he needs to grind out good results in weeks when he's not on top of his game and then, when he is on form, make his rivals pay by winning events.

But things couldn't be better for him now and this will give him a huge confidence boost for the rest of the year.

Surprise package

The surprise package of the weekend in South Carolina was David Lynn. The 38-year-old from Merseyside last won in Holland in 2004 at the KLM Open. He's a player who has played on the tour for a long time and never been troubled by coming off it. He's established on tour as a good player but perhaps you would have thought he would have won more or played more majors than he has - this was only his second appearance at golf's top four events after finishing tied for 53rd at the Open in 2003.

But he scraped into the top 100 to qualify for the US PGA and produced a career performance to finish second. To perform like that in such a big event will open doors for him. Maybe he'll have more belief in his game now. He can be very proud of that performance and if he keeps doing what he's doing he knows that, when things go right, he can finish high up the leaderboard.

Europeans make themselves at home

It was also a good weekend for European golf with five of the top six finishers from this side of the pond. That's certainly a boost for the Europeans ahead of this September's Ryder Cup, but it was disappointing Lee Westwood and Luke Donald - two solid talisman for Team Europe - struggled for much of the tournament. Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal will be hoping that pair can find their form before the showdown at Medinah, but he will be pleased to see Poulter performing well. He is a top match player and loves the Ryder Cup format.

It's great to have so many Europeans at the top of the leaderboard. Going into the Ryder Cup you want to be on the side that thinks it's playing the best and this past weekend will give the Europeans plenty of confidence.

Wyndham Championship

This week we've got coverage of the Wyndham Championship live on Sky. It's the final tournament before the play-offs for the FedEx Cup get underway so there will be a mad scramble from players hovering around the top 125 cut off point. There is so much money available in the FedEx that players just outside the 125 will be desperate to sneak up the rankings. Plus, if you do miss out, there's not much golf to be played with four weeks of play-offs and then the Ryder Cup after that.

The Barclays will now be the priority for the top players, including McIlroy, who have already secured their places in the play-offs, so we won't see all the big names in North Carolina. However, there's always so much tension and drama at Wyndham and it should be a fascinating weekend of action.

I think this could be a week for Carl Pettersson who is 16/1 with SkyBet . He's a North Carolina boy and won here in 2008. His form is good too, after finishing in a tie for third at Kiawah Island.

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