Rory McIlroy Saves His Best For Last


For those who were starting to doubt the greatness of Rory McIlroy it’s time to get back on the bandwagon.  His victory at the improved but still flawed WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship was far from the dominating performances we’ve seen from him over the years, but it may have been one of his best.  The driver wasn’t finding fairways, his irons weren’t crisp, and there were times where he was missing gimme putts.  Still at the end of the day the best golfer on the planet is walking away with the trophy.

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In what was far from an easy week for the world number one, he still found a way to win all seven of his matches.  The players started things off with three days of round robin play to reach the “Sweet Sixteen” that included back-to-back days two match days over the weekend.  Late Friday afternoon trailing Billy Horschel by two holes with two to play he rallied to tie and get past last year’s FedEx Cup champ in a in extra holes.  Next he waxed Hideki Matsuyama in the Round of 16, and followed that up with two more comeback victories over Paul Casey and Jim Furyk to reach Sunday afternoon’s final round.  He then proceeded to put a bow on the week with a 4 & 2 victory over the long hitting Gary Woodland.

McIlroy wasn’t anywhere close to the same top form that won him two majors, and three tournaments in a row last summer.  His win in San Francisco was the first of five straight weeks of competition for Rory, in preparations for the season’s second major, and defending his titles at The Open and PGA Championships.  For the past five days at TPC Harding Park the goal simple, beat your opponent. McIlroy did that, even though he didn’t make it look easy.

“In the positions that I found myself in, you have to dig a little bit deeper. You have to try and find things from places you don’t know if they’re there or not,” said McIlroy, who has won two of the last three World Golf Championships he’s played. “I was able to produce a couple of key shots when I needed to this week. As a mental test, I don’t think we face anything tougher.” (Credit Golf Channel)

Prior to yesterday it had been a winless 2015 on the PGA Tour for McIlroy, and when you’re a player of his caliber that is when the alarms start to go off.  There was even some chatter that Masters champ Jordan Spieth was poised to knock him from his spot on top of golf’s Mount Olympus.  Even though this week wasn’t a major championship it’s time to get back on board the “Rory Train.”  For how bad he looked at times to be leaving the Bay Area as the last man standing is really astonishing. Then again that’s what happens when you are the best, sometimes your B and even C game is better than everyone elses A game.

With the success and major break through of Spieth at Augusta, and now a WGC win for McIlroy we aren’t seeing the passing of the torch, instead it’s the start of a budding rivalry.  In the past ten months the two have accumulated nine wins and three majors between the two of them.  No two golfers on the planet have had as much success as them since last July.  For Rory maybe a challenger is just what he needed to keep focusing on the bigger goals at hand.

"“I think everyone, not just me, but everyone on TOUR was inspired seeing Jordan do what he did at Augusta,” McIlroy said. “This is the start of a nice little run of golf for me and I wanted to come out and play well and increase my lead in the world rankings, which I’ve done after this win, and keep it going. But it’s always nice to have people pushing you, and I feel like he’s one of the guys doing that right now.” (Credit"

The scene now shifts to TPC Sawgrass and The Players Championship, where there are no two players with more hype and momentum than Spieth and McIlroy.  Rory may not have had his A game last week but you can count on it come Thursday.  We all were let down by last weekend’s title fight so maybe now golf’s best punchers can steal the show.

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