Rory McIlroy earns some comparisons with Tiger Woods | Golf
The incredible skill, the youth, even the red shirt on Sunday. Rory McIlroy's dominant performance in winning the PGA Championship last weekend looked a lot like the early days of Tiger Woods.
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — The comparisons are inevitable. The incredible skill, the youth, even the red shirt on Sunday.
Rory McIlroy's dominant performance in winning the PGA Championship last weekend looked a lot like the early days of Tiger Woods.
Woods saw it coming more than three years ago. McIlroy, who is from Northern Ireland, made his professional debut in America at age 19 and reached the quarterfinals of the Match Play Championship. Woods saw how he drove the ball, the putts he made, the efficient short game and the composure.
"He has all of the components to be the best player in the world, there's no doubt," 14-time major winner Woods said in March 2009. "It's just a matter of time and experience, and then basically gaining that experience in big events."
McIlroy didn't need much time.
The 23-year-old won both his majors, the U.S. Open last year and the PGA Championship, by eight shots. There have been five majors won by eight shots or more since 1976 — three by Woods, two by McIlroy.
McIlroy won two majors at a slightly younger age than Woods, though that is a little misleading because he turned pro earlier. The PGA Championship was McIlroy's 16th major event as a pro; Woods won two of his first 12.
McIlroy played the final 23 holes last weekend without a bogey. It was reminiscent of Woods going the last 26 holes without a bogey at Pebble Beach in the 2000 U.S. Open.
Does that make McIlroy the next Woods?
Winning the second major was a big deal to McIlroy because so much is expected of him. He was never going to be a one-and-done major champion. The golf world knew that. He went into a funk by missing three cuts in four PGA Tour tournaments in May and June, then quieted critics with a dominant display in the final major of the year.
"I was a little frustrated with how I was playing earlier on in the year, but a few people in this room were probably pushing panic buttons for no reason," McIlroy told media.
Woods won 54 times around the world, including 10 majors, before turning 30. McIlroy's victory Sunday was the sixth of his career.
"I've won my second major at the same age as he had," McIlroy said. "But he went on that incredible run like 2000, 2001, 2002, and won so many.
"I'd love to sit up here and tell you that I'm going to do the same thing, but I just don't know. It's been great to win my first major last year and to back that up with another one this year."
• Lee Westwood's manager said the English player — ranked No. 4 in the world — has split from coach Pete Cowen and temporary caddie Mike Waite after missing the cut at the PGA Championship.
Westwood's manager, Andrew "Chubby" Chandler, said "Lee admits he needed to shake things up" and "he'd lost his focus and his enthusiasm a bit."
• U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III filled out his roster of assistants by adding Scott Verplank and Jeff Sluman.
Love previously named Seattle native Fred Couples and Mike Hulbert as assistants. Ryder Cup competition begins Sept. 28 in Medinah, Ill.