This week before the British Open (or Open Championship for you across the pond), we will be previewing the top players in the world and their chances at Sandwich. We begin with the latest member of the major champion locker room.
Current world ranking: 4
So far this year: You know the story on McIlroy. Led the Masters until the back nine on Sunday, when his game left the state of Georgia and he crumbled to a final-round 80. It seemed that might really hurt the 22-year-old until he showed up at Congressional and blew away the field, winning the U.S. Open by eight shots.
Record at the British Open: A year ago at St. Andrews, McIlroy tied the lowest score in major championship history on Thursday with an opening 63, but a second-round 80 dropped him down the leaderboard. Still, McIlroy finished tied for third, his only top 10 at this event in three attempts.
Why he could win: Because he's one of the best players in the world right now, and he's riding a confidence wave the likes of which we haven't seen since the old Tiger days. At this point in major championships, it really is a toss-up, but you'd want to pick a guy that is coming in with good mojo, and McIlroy sure has that. Also, he's had the lead at one point in the last four major championships, dating back to this tournament a year ago.
Why he could fall short: Because the last time we saw this guy with a golf club in his hand was when he was tapping in for par on the 72nd hole at Congressional. People have criticized the kid for taking so much time off from his win, so he could roll into Sandwich with some rust to his tournament game, and as we've seen in the past, Rory does better in these majors when he gets off to a hot start.
Our take: McIlroy is good. Like, really, really good, but I'm still not sure if he's got to that level where he could come in and take a second straight major. The British is the most unpredictable of majors, because weather could doom someone's chances, but I see McIlroy having a solid week, carding his second straight top 10 at the Open, but falling short on his bid for a Claret Jug.
Your turn, folks. Do you think Rory could snag another major? Has he taken too much time off?