If you blew off watching golf this weekend because Tiger Woods missed the cut, you missed a special performance by Rory McIlroy
The commentators on PGA Tour radio on XM were calling 20-year-old Rory McIlroy’s final-round course record 62 en route to winning the Quail Hollow Championship the best round of golf they had seen in years. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, 18-year-old Ryo Ishikawa shot a 58 to win the Crowns tournament in Nagoya, Japan on the Japanese tour.
Ishikawa’s 58 is the lowest competitive round ever on a major tour. McIlroy lipped out on 17 and could have been the first to record three birdies in a row on Quail Hollow’s infamous “Green Mile,” a finishing stretch that has produced 10 times as many bogeys or worse as it has birdies.
These guys, and a few more, are the future of golf. Tiger Woods is still king for now, but there is plenty of good golf beyond Woods and even Phil Mickelson (who finished second this week, four strokes back).
It seems we’ve been so focused on the Woods’ scandal as of late that much of the stellar play from guys like McIlroy, Anthony Kim and Ricky Fowler is going unnoticed.
Yes, there are other reasons to watch the PGA Tour, and if you missed the young Irishman’s performance this weekend because Woods didn’t make the cut, you are cheating yourself. Moreover, you’re not really a golf fan.
What’s impressive about McIlroy isn’t just the score, but they way he did it. First off, his golf swing is flawless. And he didn’t just shoot 62 on Sunday, he had nine birdies in Saturday’s 66 as well. He was 16-under just on the weekend, and Quail Hollow Country Club is one tough golf course, probably tougher than Augusta National because the misses at Quail Hollow are more lethal.
If you add up Sunday’s scores from McIlroy and Ishikawa you get 120 between them. That’s really impressive, especially considering their ages add up to less than 40.
Of course there’s no way to predict what these two will do in their career, but I wouldn’t bet against them. McIlroy, by the way, is the youngest PGA Tour winner since Woods won the Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic in the fall on 1996.
I’m not saying Woods is done by any stretch, but keep an eye out for these young stars. We could be seeing the start of something special again.
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