Rory McIlroy had a great start to the 2012 golf season. After all, this would be his first year as a PGA Touring Professional on the American Tour. He won the Honda Classic in March after a second place finish in the Accenture Match Play Championships. He would score a second place finish the next week at the World Golf Championships, and after a mediocre showing at Augusta, he snaged another second place at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Then he missed two cuts in a row starting at The Players and again at Jacks tournament. He had a respectful showing at The St. Jude with a seventh place finish, then missed the cut again at the US Open where he was the defending champion. He went back to Europe where he continued a downward spiral with more missed cuts, and a terrible showing at The Open Championship.
At that point, I started to speculate that Rory McIlroy might be another European bust that made a splash in the States, and like a shooting star that has went out, finally came back to Earth. Another challenger to an re-emerging Tiger Woods who, like Sergio, Lee and Luke would not live up to the hype. His game was too good to go this badly, so soon. Did the success go to his head, or was the new girlfriend the problem?
Since returning in August, and a fifth place warm up at The Bridgestone, he has reigned terror in the hearts of all competitors, including Mr. Woods. I’m not sure what happened, but at this point, I’m not sure anyone can beat him. The victory at Kiawah Island, as we watched a flawless charge on Sunday afternoon, was a statement of what was to come.
As I scanned the PGA Tour statistics I found that Rory McIlroy, since his win at Crooked Stick, is number one in all stats that matter. He is your FedEx Cup points leader, World Golf Rankings leader, Money List leader and is number one in Scoring Average. In fact, his scoring average has reached a scary 62.2. This is 4.8 strokes per round better than number two, Tiger Woods.
One stat that stands out, but may provide some insight into why McIlroy is winning. He is 142nd in Driving Accuracy, but yet he leads in scoring average. This point was proven in the first round at The Deutche Bank where he hit only four fairways all day, yet shot a 6 under par 65. Did I hear someone say Seve was his hero?
The other stat combination that makes sense with Rory’s game and caught my eye is Greens In Regulation. Rory is 41st in this category, but, he is number one in par 3 birdies, second in par 4 birdies, and third in par 5 birdies. He is 27th in putt per round, so he possess’s one of the best short games on tour. He get’s up and down regularly, and is an excellent sand player.
Rory McIlroy is a raw talent with a flawless swing, great attitude, level demeanor and a desire to win. He doesn’t seem to spend hours analyzing his swing or game, he just goes out and plays golf. The only meltdown we have witnessed was a horrible Sunday afternoon at Augusta that was motivation for The US Open win at Congressional.
McIlroy leads Tiger Woods in 2012 earnings by almost $2 Million dollars. I wonder what that gap would look like if Rory hadn’t found a girlfriend this summer. I think Rory McIlroy is the real deal, and is exactly what golf, and golf fans need.
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