McIlroy best bet to smash Nicklaus’ mark

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By Al S. Mendoza

All Write

Friday, August 15, 2014


IF you talk of great comebacks these days, Rory McIlroy takes the lead hands down.

After winning the PGA Championship in 2012 by a record eight shots after a similar blockbuster 8-stroke victory in the 2011 US Open, McIlroy’s golf career would next slide to stark obscurity.

Superstars suffer short slumps and that’s normal in this fast-changing world when cell phones change models faster than sprinter Usain Bolt’s blitz to the tape.

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But for McIlroy, the winless drought dragged on for a year.

So, as the 2013 season was winding down, the McIlroy mugging wasn’t even waning. Media can be friendly but also cruel also as well.
He was being dismissed as from instant celebrity to a flash in the pan, from being golf’s looming rock star to a hapless one-hit wonder. When he ballooned to 80 after shooting 63 to turn from winner to loser in the Masters, he was bashed as from being world No. 1 golfer to world No. 1 choker.

And then he went into overhaul mode.

He changed his equipment.

He changed his management team.

He changed “sweethearts.”

The changes drew million-dollar suits, except his breakup with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, the former world No. 1 in tennis.
“My true love has always been golf,” said McIlroy after winning the British Open, WGC-Bridgestone and PGA Championship in succession, as if to say splitting up with Wozniacki did him wonders.

Well, his reunion with his original love, golf, made him world No. 1 again.

“I. Need. Coffee.” he tweeted after his epic, energy-sapping win in the PGA a week or so back.

His way of saying, “Now I can relax a bit.”

Can he?

He is seven years from turning 32, the age when Tiger Woods won his 14th major to stay four majors short of the record 18 held by Nicklaus who is 74.

With “only” four majors across his name, McIlroy has to do a lot of cramming to catch Woods, if not Nicklaus.

There are 28 majors from 2015 to 2022, the year McIlroy will have turned 32. Can he win 15 in the next seven years to break Nicklaus’ mark?

And while Woods, now 38, has stopped winning majors since he won his 14th in 2008, McIlroy seems just warming up.

Now, if he gets the luck of avoiding injuries unlike Woods, McIlroy might just do it. We’ll see.

alsol47@yahoo.com

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 16, 2014.

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