Shane Bacon

Rory McIlroy is right where we all expected him to be

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf

View photo

.
There really isn't anything that should surprise you when you check the Saturday leaderboard at the PGA Championship and see Rory McIlroy near the top of it. Some youngsters have the potential to win major championships. Rory has the game to do so.

Someone asked U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell earlier this year what surprised him the most about McIlroy's game, and he answered that the only surprising thing is he doesn't shoot 65 every time out. It makes sense. The guy has few flaws.

While he's only 21, McIlroy has some serious major experience, with most of it coming from that Jekyll and Hyde experiment at St. Andrews last month. A 63 to open, McIlroy shot 80 on Friday, and was on a steep climb north to get himself in third position when the final putts had dropped. Now, at Whistling Straits, the young Northern Irishman is there again, this time after 54 holes.

An opening 71 on Thursday was good, but it could have been a lot better if not for two double-bogeys on his card. Then, McIlroy turned it on, shooting a 4-under 68 on Friday and a 5-under 67 on a Saturday when most of the field was going low, ending at 10-under after three rounds.

If you want to know just how much confidence (and talent) young Rory has, just find a reply of his third shot on the 18th in the third round. A blocked five-iron second left him in the deep rough right of the green, but McIlroy calmly pitched it out, rolled it to a foot, and tapped in for par. Some people have that ability to close well, and most don't.

If he wins, it'll be the story of the year. Already a champion on the European and PGA Tours at such a young age, it is inevitable that one of these young talents will take down a major like Tiger Woods did in 1997. For a year that seems to be full of disappointing performances by the big names, Rory has a chance to change all that on Sunday.

I bet a 65 would do it, don't you think, Graeme?

View Comments