Sunday, August 12, 2012

PGA Championship at Kiawah Island

I have never been so captivated by such a boring golf tournament. The anticipation of seeing the links of War on the Shore fame was what peaked my interest in this year's edition of the PGA Championship prior to the start of play. The presence of Woods, McDowell, Singh, Scott, and McIlroy on the leaderboard during the first three days guaranteed I would be glued to the television all Sunday afternoon. I watched Woods and Singh play a couple of holes early Sunday morning on the PGA of America website, and I made it my top priority to check our where the leaders stood after attending church and teaching kids' Sunday school. At that point, Rory had topped the leaderboard. However, we all know the final round of a major can bring even the best golfers to their knees at any point. Adam Scott's painful collapse at Lytham is all too fresh to think otherwise, not to mention McIlroy's 10th hole blow up at Augusta last year. So as CBS's final round coverage commenced, I was amped up to see another showdown for glory's last shot.

I got served a dish I did not order. The last thing any golf fan wants to watch is a blow out. Some hot shot shooting lights out during the final nine of the third round and front nine of the final round then stumbling home with a bogey or two thrown in during the last hours of the stretch is not good for the game. Therefore, I tuned in for twenty minutes here and there throughout the middle of Rory's round thinking Poulter's string of birdies would scare him or memories of the Masters would be called up. However, what we witnessed was a young major champion in the zone smashing big drives and making, seemingly, every putt with zero bogies. Despite his enormous lead and Poulter's fade, I could not help but watch Rory come home playing spectacular golf and capping his victory with an exclamation at 18. Adam Scott and Jim Furyk both proved how extremely difficult holding on to a lead in a big tournament is in the last couple months. As young as he is, McIlroy has multiple major experiences with large leads, and he has gone both ways during those championships. He won the US Open at Congressional by eights shots, and now he has won the PGA Championship by eight shots. 

CBS commentator Jim Natnz said he does not use the word "awesome" very often, but he had no choice but to describe McIlroy's performance today as such. The graphic CBS flashed following the conclusion of Jack Nicklaus', Tiger's, and Rory's ages at the point of winning their second major is quite impressive. The Golden Bear was only one month younger than McIlroy when capturing his second, and Tiger was actually a few months older when taking the US Open at Pebble Beach by a record fifteen strokes. I do not believe the newly minted PGA champ will win nearly as many majors or tournaments as the game's greatest, but the future is sure bright for this talented young man from Hollywood, Northern Ireland.

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