Sunday, 10 April 2011

Rory McIlroy - A Leap of Faith to Join the Immortals of Golf

Northern Ireland's finest, Rory McIlroy, is on the threshold as I write this, of joining an unique group of golfing champions to have won their sports' biggest prize at the youngest age.

The boy from Hollywood, Northern Ireland is in a few hours time, going to step out on the hallowed first tee at the Augusta National, leading the US Masters golfing championship going into the final round.

The boy is only 21 years and 341 days old. He has clearly been for some years, a rising star in the golfing world. He is currently placed at No.9 in the world.

Over the past 2 years, he has shown that on the biggest stage, he has the talent to do very well. In both 2009 and 2010, he has tied for 3rd in the notoriously US dominated PGA Championship and he also tied for 3rd in the 2010 Open Championship. He was also a central member of the victorious European Ryder Cup team last autumn at the Celtic Manor. He has already made $6.2m in career earnings in just 4 years as a professional. The boy is a prodigous talent - and he's a character to go with it.

But today, he stands on the cusp of true golfing greatness.

If he holds his nerve later as a part of the final pairing to tee-off in Augusta and wins the coveted Green Jacket, he will match Tiger Woods' record of winning a Masters Championship at the tender age of just 21. The Tiger was admittedly that bit younger when he burst onto the scene in 1997 at the age of 21 years, 3 months and 14 days old when he won the first of his 14 majors to date, but to win at this tender age would put McIlroy in the same illustrious grouping as the likes of Young Tom Morris (Open Champoionship winner at age of 17 years, 5 months and 8 days in 1868), and grand glam winner Gene Sarazan (PGA Championship winner aged 20 years, 5 months and 22 days in 1922) and Ben Hogan as golfing major championship winners before his 22nd birthday.

To put this into its rightful perspective, Jack Nicklaus won his first major at the age of 22, Arnold Parmer won his first at the age of 28, Gary Player at the age of 23, Tom Watson at the age of 25 and Seve Ballesteros, like Nicklaus, at 22.

McIlroy has the sternest test of his young golfing career ahead of him over the next 6 hours. But if he passes the challenge successfully, he will add his name to the most distinguished list of greats to have ever treaded on a gofling green.

Good luck mate.

1 comment: