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Golf Australia Express : Issue 26
PLAYER THE “This is my fifth full year on Tour. It’s not like it’s just been right away. It’s taken a little bit of time, but you know, it’s fantastic to be here at the minute and hopefully I can hold onto it for a little longer.” BLESSED WITH A BEAUTIFUL swing aided by a youthful limber body, for nearly five years he’s been tagged with the overused ‘Next Big Thing’ title. But nothing in golf is certain except the uncertainty of golf. (Write that down.) Just ask Sergio Garcia who had similar wraps to Rory thrown his way as a brash teenager on Tour in the late 90s. His path has certainly taken a different route to Rory’s. And how often have we seen god-given talent squandered or potential left unfulfilled? Not so with McIlroy. His latest feat puts him in one of golf’s most exclusive clubs. The No.1 club. In fact, only 15 others have had the honour of holding the ultimate ranking. For the record, Phil Mickelson—a 40 PGA Tour and 4-time major winner, and soon-to-be Hall of Famer—has never held the top post. Yeah, the world No.1 ranking can be as rare as hen’s teeth. Then again, this cocksure rooster is one rare talent. And right now, he rules the roost. OTG “He’s the best player I’ve ever seen tee- to-green, period.” - Graeme McDowell “That was fun watching that. Watching [McIlroy] respond to Tiger and Westwood’s great rounds.” - Johnny Miller “There are guys with potential, but he’s already delivered. And he has a good balance in his life. He doesn’t look like a guy who is going to burn out. He looks like he’s going to be here for a while.” - Padraig Harrington “A couple of years ago, Rory would have been more intimidated [by Woods making a charge]. But two years on he’s winning and winning with ease.” - Colin Montgomerie “I didn’t have a chance to play with Tiger in the early to mid 2000s when Tiger was the man, but Rory McIlroy is the best.” - Graeme McDowell “There’s very few players as good as him at his age out there winning tournaments.” - Padraig Harrington