Rory McIlroy, Golf’s New ‘Him’

by Rob Doster

It may have turned into the Snore by the Shore, but it was a weekend of milestones for the world’s No. 1 golfer, Rory McIlroy, who’s out-Tigering Tiger Woods at the same point in their respective careers. In 27 holes of rain-delayed Sunday golf at the formidable Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, McIlroy put on a breathtaking display: 9-under par, no bogeys, an utter subjugation of a great field, and a great golf course.

Rory’s litany of achievements this weekend:

He becomes the youngest PGA Champion (23 years, three months) since the tournament moved to stroke play in 1958, beating Jack Nicklaus’s record.

His 8-shot margin of victory breaks Nicklaus’s record 7-shot margin at the 1980 PGA.

McIlroy is the second-youngest player to win two majors. Nicklaus was one month younger when he won his second; Tiger was four months older.

His 8-shot win reprised his 8-shot demolition of the U.S. Open field in 2011. He’s the first player to earn his first two major victories in such dominant fashion.

He’s halfway to a career Grand Slam, and had he avoided a Sunday back-nine meltdown at the 2011 Masters, we’d be talking about him in the reverent tones once reserved for Tiger at his apex.

One of the refreshing things about Rory is his relative humility given his youth and level of accomplishment; he hasn’t burst into the champions’ locker room and started throwing elbows.

Yes, he wore Sunday red in an obvious nod to the guy who made such attire famous, but he said afterwards that he would have left the red shirt in the closet under certain conditions. “I thought if I was playing with him [Woods], I wouldn’t wear it,” he said. “Obviously, ‘him,’ you know who ‘him’ is.”

As Sunday made clear, there’s a new “him” in town.

— Rob Doster is senior editor for Athlon Sports.

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