When Rory McIlroy wins, he wins big. Once again, after winning the PGA Championship in Kiawah Island, South Carolina for his second major win, the young Northern Irishman continued that trend, winning by a whopping 8 strokes again. While players like Tiger Woods were left out to dry, McIlroy dominated the field en route to the win, his second after the 2011 US Open. Last year, at Congressional, McIlroy shot a record score, winning again by 8 strokes. While this time his performance wasn’t as legendary, it was spectacular and impressive nonetheless.
Some can argue that his first major win was more important to his career, some can argue that this one was more important. While both were certainly important, this win was vital to ensure his status as golf’s new best player (not Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, or any of the former #1 players who failed to make a mark in majors.
Believe it or not, but the last 2 months or so very well might have been the toughest of McIlroy’s young career. After struggling throughout the entire summer and some weeks before, at one point having a string of three straight missed cuts, you could tell McIlroy wasn’t just playing well- that was obvious- but that his confidence was shot. The sad thing was that the media were absolutely beating him up…and it showed. They berated his play, questioned his commitment to the game, and even went as far as suspecting that his girlfriend, tennis player and former #1 Caroline Wozniacki was having too much of an effect on his game.
The thing that is most impressive about this huge win is how he seemed to take out all his frustration and anger with the media and convert it into the fuel for his fire that propelled him to this title. He didn’t take it out on himself, nor on his clubs (See: Woods, Tiger at the Masters), but rather, used it as positive energy. For a 23-year old guy to do that shows a LOT (with a capital L) of mental toughness that I doubt a 23-year old Jack or Tiger had.
Now all that needs to be done is for the haters to stop hater, the detractors to stop detracting, because there’s no more to be said- Rory McIlroy is on the big stage now, and is “for real”.
All that now needs to be done is for the other half of “Wozzilroy” to step up. Your move, Caroline Wozniacki.