2014 Report Cards: How Can We Not Give Rory McIlroy An A+?


Sep 14, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Rory McIlroy reacts to the crowd after his putt on the sixteenth green during the final round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Most of the conversation in 2013 regarding Rory McIlroy centered around his migration to Nike and the equipment change being at the heart of his most dismal season on both tours. I always knew that the talented youngster from Northern Ireland would eventually iron out his golf swing and get back on track. The big question was when?

You could sense that the 25 year-old from Hollywood, Northern Ireland was making progress when he came back from four shots down at the Royal Sydney Golf Course to ruin Adam Scott’s Aussie sweep at the Australian Open. By the time he got to the Honda Classic you could tell that he was very close to his old 2012 self.

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After the failures in 2013, Rory had to learn how to win again, and he was unable to put a couple of tournaments away, including the Honda Classic where he had a late lead, and hit that awful shot from a fairway bunker on the 16th hole at PGA National.

He hit one of the best golf shots I have ever seen at the 18th hole, but missed the 10-foot eagle putt that would have given him the win. He lost in the playoff to Russell Henley.

The driver is the key to Rory McIlroy’s game, and it was the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth where he found the driver. Once he was able to get those monster drives in the fairway with some consistency, he become almost unbeatable. I feel like it was at Virginia Waters where we could say the for sure, the words everyone was wanting to say for almost two years….He’s back!

Wins at the Open Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and The PGA Championship vaulted McIlroy back to the top of the World Rankings, and back to the top of the professional golfing world. When he is in the field, he becomes the man to beat.

On the PGA Tour, McIlroy finished third in the FedEx Cup standings, and admitted he should have taken a break during the playoff run. He was physically, and mentally exhausted at Cherry Hills where he four-putted the 12th green two days in a row. He tried to make a run a couple of times, but was just out of gas.

McIlroy finished the PGA Tour season with a 68.836 stroke average where he was ranked number one, and at 310.5 yard driving distance ranked third. He was in the fairway 59% of the time, and gained a whopping .272 strokes putting.

All of the success in 2014 put $8,280,096 in his bank account which was a drastic difference from the $1.8 million he made in 2013.

Rory is ranked number one in the European Tour’s Race To Dubai standings, and will be the man to beat when they begin the Playoffs next month in Shanghai at the BMW Masters.

During his 2013 season, I consistently wrote that Rory’s lifestyle, which was centered around his girlfriend, Caroline Wozniaki was the bigger of his golf problems. When he decided to call off the wedding and get back to working on his golf game, he returned to his 2012 form, and beyond.

As we saw in the Ryder Cup last weekend, when rested, Rory McIlroy can at times, become unbeatable. A little like Tiger Woods back in the day. I think we can start the conversation about his place in history, especially if he can get a Green Jacket next year, and the career slam.

His 5 & 4 win over Rickie Fowler during the Sunday Single matches proves that we could be in for another decade of dominance by the 25 year-old, not only at future Ryder Cups, but at any tournament where he tees it up.

With four wins, two major championships, and a WGC title, how can we not give Rory McIlroy an A+ for the 2014 season?