Blog Entry

Fact tracks: Rory's rapid ascent to the summit

Posted on: June 19, 2011 2:12 pm

BETHESDA, Md. -- All but officially, the 2011 U.S. Open has been renamed in honor of the guy who is obliterating the record books, not to mention the world-class field.

They might not be capable of reaching a decision on Capitol Hill, but at Congressional Country Club, it's been a slam-dunk runaway.

The week's been christened the Rory Story.

Courtesy of the Golfing Union of Ireland, here's a quick fact file on 22-year-old Rory McIlroy, because if he holds on to win and claim his first Grand Slam title, he's going to become an overnight sports sensation.

1989: Born May 4, in Holywood, Northern Ireland

1998: Makes his first hole in one.

2004: Helps Europe win the Junior Ryder Cup.

2005: Becomes the youngest winner of the West of Ireland and Irish Close championships before playing in his first professional European Tour event as a 16-year-old at The Forest of Arden. In July, shoots a course-record 61 on the Dunluce links at Royal Portrush Golf Club.

2006: Retains both Irish amateur titles and in August wins the European Amateur Championship in Italy. Represented Ireland in the Eisenhower Trophy and the Amateur World Team Championship.

2007: May - Makes the cut in a European Tour event for the first time at the Dubai Desert Classic .... Shoots 3-under 68 in the Open Championship at Carnoustie, the only bogey-free round of the day. He goes on to finish T42 and is low amateur .... Part of Great Britain & Ireland team for the Walker Cup .... After topping the amateur rankings, McIlroy turns professional. He makes the cut in his first professional event at the British Masters and finishes third in his second pro event, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. The following week, he secures his card for the 2008 season by finishing T4 at the Madrid Open. He finishes 2007 in 95th place on the European money list.

2008: Takes a four-shot lead into the final round at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland but bogeys the 18th to tie with Jean-Francois Lucquin, who goes on to win in a playoff. Finishes the season in the top 100 of the world rankings and ranked 36th on the European Tour Order of Merit .... Finishes second in Hong Kong Open, helping him attain his highest world ranking position of 50, making him the youngest player ever to make the top 50. A T3 finish in the South African Open earns him an invitation to the Masters for 2009, only 18 months after turning pro.

2009: Wins first professional title at the Dubai Desert Classic by one shot from Justin Rose, lifting him to 16th in the world ranking. Plays his first major as a professional at the Masters and finishes T20 .... Makes his U.S. Open at Bethpage debut and finishes 10th .... Finishes T47 at the British Open and T3 at PGA Championship .... Finishes second to Lee Westwood in the Race to Dubai and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking.

2010: Takes up membership on PGA Tour and in May wins the Quail Hollow Championship with a course-record, closing 62, becoming the first player since Tiger Woods to triumph on the U.S. tour prior to his 21st birthday .... Shoots a 9-under-par 63 in first round of British Open at St Andrews, tying the record for lowest round ever posted at a major. He finishes T3 and climbs to No. 7 in the world at age 21 .... Finishes T3 at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits after co-leading late on Sunday .... Announces his intention to forego PGA Tour card and return to the European Tour in 2011.

2011: Holds third-round lead in Dubai, but closes with 74 to finish T10 .... Takes four-shot lead into final round of the Masters but closes with an 80 to finish T15 .... Takes eight-shot lead into final round of U.S. Open at Congressional.


Category: Golf

Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: June 20, 2011 6:08 pm

Fact tracks: Rory's rapid ascent to the summit

McIlroy played great, no one can dispute that. But if I were one of the top-ranked players, I'd be asking myself: "Is he really that much better than I am? Or did I just really suck this week, when I should have been playing my best golf?" Almost every player interviewed acknowledged the course was playing much easier than usual for a US Open. So why did he finish with that big a lead over everyone else? Why, on Sunday, did no one make a move and put some pressure on him? Get within four strokes and see how his game holds up? When Woods won by 15 strokes at Pebble Beach in 2000, there were a couple of factors leading to that big a margin. First, yes he was that much better than most of the field, and it was a tough Sunday, with strong wind and rain pretty much destroying anyone's chance to catch him. Second, and this has been sort of forgotten now, by the time Woods teed off, the wind had died down to just a breeze, and he had much better playing conditions than most of the field ahead of him. So it was a shocking record that he set, but it was explainable. I still don't see an explanation for McIlroy playing that much better than anyone else this week. Sure, he hit most fairways and greens, but there are others quite good at that too, Kuchar and Stricker to name just two, and they have the putting to go with it. Is McIlroy already intimidating opponents with his game, like Woods did? I find that hard to believe at this point. It would take a few repetitions of that kind of performance to intimidate them to where it puts them off their game.

Since: Jan 17, 2007
Posted on: June 19, 2011 8:15 pm

Fact tracks: Rory's rapid ascent to the summit

Truth: I agree about the young players, it's great to see a new era dawning in golf, it's somewhat overdue.  But I, for one, am unconcened about the nationality of the players...I don't even think about it, just as I didn't think about Gary Player's nationality, or Tony Jacklin, or Nick Faldo, or Greg Norman, or anyone else.  I love great golf and enjoy watching to top player regardless of where they happened to be born.

Since: May 25, 2011
Posted on: June 19, 2011 7:35 pm

Fact tracks: Rory's rapid ascent to the summit

After seeing him, sadly impolde earlier, he deserves it. Congrates.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: June 19, 2011 6:10 pm

Fact tracks: Rory's rapid ascent to the summit

it is good to see some new young players competing on the PGA Tour. The down side to this is where has America gone in this sport? I did not watch very much of the tournament today. The main reason is that it was a runaway too boring. What happened that allowed the Open to be played on a course with no rough, such short holes, just having greens that were not as fast as usual. I stiil cannot figure out how the Americans have become so mediocre in this sport. It is almost the same as the LPGA. If it continues in this manner, my days of watching tis sport are numbered. It is hard to pull for the foreign players since the Ryder Cup has become more popular. Guess I will just have to play more, watch less. Better for my body and the economy also. At least when Tiger was in his heyday, this hardly ever happened.

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