Welcome to Teeing Off, where Devil Ball editor Jay Busbee and head writer Jonathan Wall take a day's topic and smack it all over the course. Suggest a future topic by writing firstname.lastname@example.org, or hit us on Twitter at @jaybusbee and @jonathanrwall. Today, we wrap up the season's last major once and for all.
Busbee: So many questions coming out of this tournament...is Rory the next Tiger? Is Tiger done? Will Kiawah ever host another major? Why doesn't every media center serve hard liquor during games? Let's go back and forth. One question, one answer. You have the honors.
Wall: I think we both know the answer to the question regarding hard liquor in the media center, so let's kick this off with something on the man of the hour: Rory McIlroy. What should we expect to see from the kid following his second major win? Is this the start of something special?
Busbee: If he holds true to form, he'll miss three cuts, charm everyone with his "whoops! my bad!" tweets, then come back and win the Masters by eight strokes. With McIlroy, you get the sense that the inconsistency will fade but the talent won't. One throttle-the-field major CAN happen to anyone; two, and you start to think there's something more going on here. Question back to you: how many majors does McIlroy need to win to be considered the best of his generation? A Hall of Famer? A legend?
Wall: Some may disagree, but he's already a lock for the Hall of Fame. Sandy Lyle went in earlier this year with 30 worldwide wins and 2 majors; McIlroy already has seven wins and two majors at the age of 23 and should get to at least 30 before his career is done. As far as best of his generation is concerned, I think he needs to win at least five or six to really separate himself from the pack, because there's a good chance someone like a Bubba Watson or Keegan Bradley wins at least two or three over their career. And a legend? It really depends on where you want to draw the cutoff line. Phil Mickelson has four major wins and isn't considered a legend, while someone like Byron Nelson, who won five, is a definite legend. I think to truly be viewed at one of the greats he needs to get at least six, maybe seven.
Switching gears from McIlroy, what the heck is up with Tiger Woods? Is he ever going to post a round in the red on the weekend at a major? And more importantly, do you think he ever wins another major in his career? (Yes, I'm being serious.)
Busbee: Yeesh. The Question. I do think he'll win another major, maybe two ... he's got Augusta every year, of course, and St. Andrews and Pebble Beach still in his viable future. But as for his problems? They're significantly mental right now. I don't place too much stock in what he says; I can't believe that even he believes that nonsense about being pleased with where he is. But the fact remains: the dude's able to win smaller golf tournaments just fine against the same guys he's playing in the majors. Something just unclicks when he's on the weekend. I do think that this was the first year Post-Hydrant that he was legitimately competitive, if only briefly, in every single major, and that speaks well of his future chances.
Before we bow out on the PGA, your thoughts on the tournament as a whole. Classic? Very good? Will we remember it in 10 years' time?
Wall: You'd like to believe a record-setting major championship victory would go down as one of the greatest in golf history. But honestly, Rory McIlroy was the only guy playing at a high level on Sunday. Give him credit for lapping the field, but with the exception of Tiger Woods' 15-shot win at the 2000 U.S. Open, winning by a ridiculous margain is, well, boring. There's a reason why the final round of the PGA Championship posted such a low overnight TV rating. Golf fans spend their precious hours on the weekend hoping to see a finish that comes down to the last hole. Obviously, we didn't get that this time around. McIlroy will remember the win for the rest of his life, but I'm not sure fans will be talking about it 10 years from now as a classic.
Your turn. Final thoughts on the PGA Championship? It's a long way to Augusta, friends. We've got to stretch this out.
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