In seven starts this season (including the PLAYERS), Rory McIlroy has six top-10 finishes in those events. He’s been in the final pairing on 3 occasions and pocketed over $4.5 million in winnings.
However, despite his incredibly hot start to the season, I wagered coming that close but not finishing the job, that many times, would mentally break him down and result in zero tournament wins this year. Rory, I was wrong.
This year’s PLAYERS provided great action and drama all week long. The weather cooperated as players settled in nicely to the new schedule. For many of them, this was the first time they have played THE PLAYERS in March.
Early on, Tommy Fleetwood looked poised to run away with it. Then, Jon Rahm took charge of the 54-hole lead. But all the while, Rory was lurking in the wings, waiting for his moment to pounce.
THE PLAYERS Championship is likely the strongest, toughest field of the entire PGA Tour season. Standing toe-to-toe with the world’s best players, McIlroy delivered haymakers all week long.
After a 67 on Thursday and 65 on Friday, scoring became tougher on the weekend as the conditions toughened up. That meant a lot of elite players found themselves within striking distance as they went to sleep Saturday night, setting up a monumental stage for Sunday’s finish.
This is exactly the type of moment that I felt Rory may have recently developed a little too much scar tissue to manage. However, the Northern Irishman continued his solid play with a pair of 2-under 70s on the weekend.
In my opinion, Rory also caught a good break when Tommy Fleetwood was paired in the final group with Rahm. As of late, for whatever reason, Rory has not played well in the final pairing on Sundays.
With everything in his favor, the championship still wasn’t in the bag until the 72nd hole. The 1-2 combo of a center cut drive followed by a tidy (and aggressive) approach at the 18th on Sunday, with a one-shot lead over the clubhouse leader Jim Furyk, dealt the knockout blow.
No matter what your opinion of Rory McIlroy is, there is no denying that he is playing some of the best golf of his career. At 29 years of age, his sights will now be set squarely on the only major he needs to complete the career grand slam, The Masters.
I think it is safe to say that he should be the odds-on favorite at Augusta in less than a month’s time. Something major would need to happen to upset Rory from the number one contender’s spot.
These are the clubs TaylorMade Staffer Rory McIlroy used to win THE PLAYERS Championship (As reported by PGATOUR):
TaylorMade P750 (3-4)
Project X 7.0
TaylorMade P730 Rors Prototype
Project X 7.0
Magical Kenya Open Presented by Absa
While the world’s best competed in Ponte Verde, Florida, on the other side of the world, the European Tour visited Africa for the Magical Kenya Open Presented by Absa. A field of 72 players teed it up at Karen CC in Nairobi, Kenya with another rookie Tour member claiming victory.
A recent Q-School graduate, 22-year old Guido Migliozzi reached the promised land in his 14th start. A one stroke victory, Guido outlasted a trio of competitors, including last week’s Qatar Masters champion, South African Justin Harding.
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