Everyone waited all week for Rory McIlroy to have that one bad round which would open the door at the 2014 Open Championship for someone else to win, but it never really came. Rory fired his worse round on Sunday at Royal Liverpool when he posted a one under 71, but it wasn’t enough for Rickie Fowler, or Sergio Garcia to close the gap.
Twenty-five year-old Rory McIlroy was able to get through Freaky Friday at Hoylake and ride a pair of six under par 66’s into the weekend. He now has three of the four major championships on his resume, and needs only the Masters to complete the career slam.
He becomes the third player to complete three legs of the slam by age 25. Only Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods have gotten this far, this early in life.
I have to say, I was very impressed with Rickie Fowler, and Sergio Garcia during this event. I knew that Sergio would show up to play on Sunday, was proud that he was able to keep the pressure on McIlroy throughout the day, and not letting him cruise to his third major.
Rickie Fowler had an opportunity to fold his tent after Rory birdied the first hole, but Rickie never let up thorough the day. Rickie hung in there all day, and made some clutch par putts to keep the bogeys off his scorecard.
Fowler was the only player who finished in the top ten who shot all four rounds in the 60’s. Rickie was bogey-free in the final round, and with his finishes at the Masters, and the US Open, is on the verge of getting that first major. Maybe as soon as next month at Valhala.
Other notable finishes came from Jim Furyk, Marc Leishman and Shane Lowery who all matched the tournament low seven under 65’s on Sunday. Furyk and Leishman finished T 7, and Lowery with a T 9.
Adam Scott had a nice final round 66 on Sunday, and will maintain his World Number One Ranking, but Rory will move into second place when the new rankings come out this week.
The defending champion, Phil Mickelson, fired a four under 68 on Sunday, and finished a respectful T 22 at Hoylake. Phil will never be a conservative player, but needs to work on his putting stroke. That appears to be the only thing keep ing Phil out of the top ten in 2014.
I personally think Tiger Woods finished about as well as he could have considering the circumstances. It was crucial for him to make the cut this week at Royal Liverpool so he could get more competitive rounds of golf under his belt prior to the Bridgestone and PGA Championship which is coming up next month.
Tiger has come back in the past in winning fashion, but at 38 years old, he is finding that coming back is harder than it was when he was 25.
Last, but not least, you have to love Tom Watson. At 64 years old, he has shown us why he won five Claret Jugs by making the cut at Royal Liverpool, and riding a final-round 68 to a T 52 finish.
I still think he needs to take his golf clubs to Gleneagles in October, and make himself one of the captains picks!