We are about to see a new era dawn in world golf. For over a decade and a half Tiger Woods has been front and center and we are as familiar with his foibles as we are with those of our own family.
Now Tiger is about to be surpassed.
The new king became clear at the British Open yesterday when Rory McIlroy, just twenty from Northern Ireland, rewrote the record books.
He attacked the old course at St. Andrews like it was the nine hole course at the local caravan park. He destroyed it with a 63, the second lowest round in history.
All the talk about the storied traditions of the home of golf blew away like one of those sea storms that regularly batter the Scottish coast.
Even the former king was impressed. "It's a pretty impressive round from Rory" said Woods.
" He kept it going and played well through the loop but he also managed to finish it off and make a couple of birdies late when the wind started to pick up.
"Rory just needs to keep doing what he's doing. Obviously he knows how to win tournaments but he's got a long way to go.
Tiger still thinks he has a shot. "I'm in good shape and I took advantage of the course when I needed to. With the condition, I felt I did a pretty good job and let the round mature.I feel I've got a great chance," he said. "I've said this so many times, but I've played so well here before."
Tiger is whistling past the graveyard. His era is about done. It ended in shame during a domestic incident at his Florida home last Thanksgiving.He's won nothing since.
In eight rounds at St. Andrews, McIlroy had not fared any worse than a 69. "I love the place," he says. The place loves him.
His round on Thursday reads like a triumphal Roman march. He began with an eagle two par-four ninth. "Yeah, I hit a driver to 15 feet and then holed the putt straight up the hill," he said.
From then on he birdied 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th and suddenly had a chance at the open record round.
"It went through my mind that the 62 would have been the lowest ever – and that's probably why I missed the putt," McIlroy said. "It's amazing. The only thing that came into my head was watching Tiger at the 2007 USPGA in Tulsa and he lipped out for 62."
He missed it by one stroke "It would have been lovely to shoot 62, but I can't really complain." That final birdie capped off "my most special round" but not "my best round". "To be honest," he said, "the 61 I shot around Portrush when I was 16 was probably slightly better."
It is that boyish arrogance that Woods once exuded before women,worries and incessant media attention brought him down.
Now the king is weary and the pretender has arrived.
The crown will pass to Rory McIlroy this British Open I predict
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