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One for the good guys! June 21, 2011

Posted by Casey in Golf.
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Who put these cabins here?

Anyone who rooted for Rory McIlroy at the 2011 Masters had to love this weekend.  He is pictured here attempting to play the ball from a position no professional golfer ever should, that was at the 10th hole, which he teed off at with a one shot lead, 7 holes to go, all to play for.  Three holes later he was 7 shots behind and suffered the ultimate of indignities, CBS stopped showing his shots.   McIlroy has long been on the radar of golf fans, since his bogey-free (the only competitor to do so) opening round 68 at the 2007 Open Championship as an 18-year old amateur.  The natural comparisons to a certain large feline have dogged him since, through several major near misses: T3 at 2009 PGA, T3 at the 2010 Open after posting the lowest opening round ever (63, in the 150th edition, mind you), a three putt on the 15th green that left him one shot out of a playoff at the 2010 PGA left him with yet another T3.   Despite that, he became just the second player to win on the PGA Tour before his 21st birthday (surprise, surprise the other guy is Tiger), and was a very successful part of the winning European Ryder Cup team this past September.    Rory was primed for his first major win at Augusta, beginning the final round with a four shot lead, however, the wheels were not firmly affixed, and the he shot a memorably bad 80 (43 on the back 9!!), that was notable not just for the collapse itself, but the grace with which he handled it.  He didn’t give one-word, nothing answers to the media, he didn’t duck accusations he had collapsed, he stood up, said he would learn from it and moved on.  Just two months later, Rory took Congressional by storm, setting US Open records for 36-hole, 54-hole, and 72-hole scores en route to an 8 shot victory.  Bill Barnwell has an excellent article comparing Rory’s win to other dominant major victories, for those with the time and interest.  The golf world and to some extent sports world seems desperate to get the “old Tiger” back, based on the emergence of this young Northern Irishman, it would seem even that “Old Tiger” would be given a run for his money, but who really needs the club-throwing, blue-streak swearing, cocktail waitress chasing?  Without dipping into the over exaggerations made by others, the kid clearly has a brilliant future, and could become one of golf’s true greats.  Let me be the 1,000,000th  blogger to welcome you to the McIlRory era!