Rory McIlroy: World Number One Golfer Sooner Rather Than Later

When watching the young Ulsterman in action, many golf fans must wonder if Rory McIlroy’s golf clubs have been blessed by the golfing gods.

He may have lost in the final of the Accenture World Matchplay to stoic American star Hunter Mahan and forget the frenzy surrounding Rory McIlroy’s new 3-wood (incidentally, it looks from early pictures simply like an slightly updated version of his faithful old Titleist 306 F2) earlier in the day it was the Ulsterman’s inspiring come-from-behind victory over former World Number One Lee Westwood was arguably the highlight of what has been a hard fought competition.

It is fair to say that McIlroy cruised into his semi-final with the Englishman without playing his very best golf, but against Westwood he was forced to dig deep after a start that saw him three down inside the space of the first five holes.

Rory-McIlroy-best european golfer

After that though, the final 13 holes were about the young Irishman as he won six of those holes to wipe out Westwood’s advantage, ending the game on the 17th green where he finished the match 3 and 1 to book his place against Hunter Mahan in the final, after the American had defeated Oliver Wilson in the morning semi final.

 

The final itself was arguably something of an anti-climas, with McIlroy seemingly fatigued from his morning exertions against Westwood, Mahan took control of the game early on, leading by four by the tenth, but the Irishman once again threatened a come back. This time however, Mahan was strong enough to hold on for a memorable victory for the American, much to the frustration of McIlroy who realised that victory would have handed him the World Number One spot.

Rory-McIlroy-best Irish golfer

That accolade will surely arrive sooner rather than later if McIlroy can continue his inexorable climb up the rankings. With current World Number One Luke Donald struggling to find his best early season form, the Irishman, who has started the season in scintillating form, in his three events in 2012, he has finished second twice and fifth. At his last five stroke play events he is a combined -62 under par and has finished in a lowest position of 11th place.

 

It is this consistency which is the catalyst to hitting the top of the rankings as Luke Donald and Lee Westwood have proved in the past. Yet with McIlroy, there is always the feeling that there is more to it than just raw golfing talent. McIlroy it seems has been destined to be the best in the world for a while.

 

Luke Donald may have caused a stir with his recent remarks about McIlroy being a better natural golfer than Tiger Woods, but on the evidence of his last few events, the current World Number One may not be wrong. It is astonishing to think that McIlroy has found this level of consistency so early in his career – let’s not forget he is still just 22 years old.

Rory-McIlroy-best professional golfer

His relationship with women’s tennis star Caroline Wozniacki may make him a darling of the tabloids and celeb magazines, but it is on the course where the quietly spoken McIlroy does most of his talking. His magnificent US Open victory last year may have erased memories of his Masters meltdown, but perhaps what has been most striking about his performances since Augusta 2011 has been his sheer consistency.

 

The worrying thing for the world of top professional golf is that McIlroy is heir to the throne already. Now number 2 in the rankings, only Donald remains ahead of him and few would bet against the Irishman finally ascending to the top of the golfing tree before too long and it is difficult to see who is going to be able to dislodge him from that position once he achieves it.

 

Perhaps the greatest compliment that you can play McIlroy is that he is set to achieve Tiger Woods like consistency and the World Number 1 spot even though he is not at the peak of his powers; he is 22 and still has the potential to get better. Much better.

Rory-McIlroy-golf swing in 2012

And that is perhaps the most remarkable thing about McIlroy’s undoubted talents. He will without question improve still further.

For sure, he needs to add markedly to his five career wins and one major championship thus far to be considered a real great of the game, but as he proved this week against Westwood in particular, the talent to do so is clearly there.

More golf titles and majors? Like the world number one spot, it is not a question of ‘if’ with Rory McIlroy, rather more simply a question of ‘when’.

 

Images by Rory McIlroy Facebook Page

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