The Golf Blog: If Rory McIlroy, age 21, wins Masters, will he be next Tiger Woods?

mulligan, 10 April 2011, Comments Off on The Golf Blog: If Rory McIlroy, age 21, wins Masters, will he be next Tiger Woods?
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The Golf Blog ( says: We remember the day, not too long ago, when every new promising golfer was given the label “the next Nicklaus.” Among the gaggle of talented golfers were Johnny Miller, Jerry Pate, Hal Sutton, and, don’t forget, son Gary Nicklaus. Of course, none of them turned out to be the next Nicklaus because Jack had no equal. Until Tiger Woods, who, from day one, was seen as a competitor to Jack, at least his records, so never really was given the label the next Nicklaus.

Well, fast forward to today. If Rory McIlroy, at 21 years and 11 months old, wins his first Masters today–he has a 4 shot lead over Angel Cabrera and others–we should ask ourselves will Rory be the next Tiger Woods. Remember Tiger won his first majors at the Master in 1997, at the similar age of 21 years old and 3 months. Tiger was a phenom then, Rory a phenom now. While we’ve seen a few phenoms–Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, and, well, Ty Tryon–who just didn’t live up to their hype, Rory McIlroy has so far.

But today will be a defining moment for Rory, one way or the other. If Rory doesn’t win, he may be thrown in with the likes of other promising golfers, such as Dustin Johnson, who we will expect to win a major one day. If Rory wins, however, then we can legitimately start imagining the comparisons to Tiger Woods.

And then the real scary part for Tiger might be: his greatest competition to beat Jack’s record of 18 majors will no longer be himself and recapturing his old magic. Even if Tiger plays his best, that may no longer be enough to win.


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