Golf recently lost one tiger but is now ready to set loose another! Rory McIlory, the 22 year-old Irishman from Northern Ireland has taken the golfing world by storm by winning the US Open with a record-breaking performance and now drawing comparisons with another former 22 year old golf phenom Tiger Woods. The Irishman led the field from beginning to end as he captured one of golf’s coveted trophies. Unlike his performance at the Masters where he led coming into the final day, only to play poorly and lose, this time there was no doubt.
Instead, Rory McIlroy finished the US Open Sunday on a tear with a 2 under 69 final round, eight shots ahead of his nearest competitor Jason Day erasing any doubt about his ability and determination. He became the first player to lead the US Open in scoring after 34, 52, and 72 holes. His 16-under 268 effort was a new tournament record, besting the previous record holder, Tiger Woods, by four shots.
In comparison to McIlroy at the age 21 Tiger captured his first major at the 1997 Masters in Augusta. He did so in a ferocious fashion besting the field by 12 shots with a record 18 under par. Two years later Tiger won his second majors at the PGA Chamionship in Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois.
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Rory already has two tour wins under his belt having won on the European tour at the Dubai desert classic in 2009 and on the PGA tour at the Quail Hollow. He also made a strong run to win at the Masters this year leading the field after three rounds with a four stroke lead before self-imploding.
Including his 1997 masters victory Tiger amassed six PGA tour wins at the same age now as McIlroy. In 1996 Tiger finished first at the Las Vegas invitational and the Walt Disney World/Olsmobile Classic. The Following year Woods triumphed at the Mercedes Championships, GTE Byron Nelson Golf Classic, and the Motorola Western Open.
For right now the Hollywood, Northern Ireland native has a long way to go to match Woods’ 14 majors and 71 tour wins. McIlroy’s still-improving skills, youth, momentum and heart make him a force to reckon with and may land him a second major faster than Tiger. In the meantime, golf has a new tiger to watch and nurture as he moves forward and establish himself as the number one golfer in the world.