5 THINGS: Rory bags his 2nd Major championshipAugust, 2012
How Rory became a multiple Major champion
The Ror on the Shore
Two decades on from the Ryder Cup that will never be forgotten, the Americans were finally silenced as Rory McIlroy claimed his second Major championship.
Just like at Congressional in last year’s US Open, the winning margin was a ludicrous eight shots.
At the end of a Major season that began with the Americans once again dominating, Europe earned a first Major win since Darren Clarke at Sandwich. And the final leaderboard at Kiawah Island featured only three Americans in the top 10.
McIlroy was never off the first page of said leaderboard all week, and led after 36 and 54 holes.
In this the season of such leads being squandered, there was no sign of the 23-year-old doing anything similar, his closing 66 without the blemish of a single bogey.
Ian Poulter’s electric start got to him to within two of the Northern Irishman at one stage but that was as close as it got.
McIlroy’s season had hitherto been unremarkable by his standards. Not anymore it isn’t. He is halfway to a career Grand Slam.
Back to World No 1
Only Tiger Woods has previously won a Major to move to World No 1, and the comparisons with the 14-time Major winner will continue to be made, whether McIlroy likes it or not. He is a few months younger than Tiger was when he won his second Major, also a PGA in 1999.
McIlroy takes over from Luke Donald at the top of the rankings, with Tiger in third and then Lee Westwood.
Looking ahead to the Ryder Cup, there are currently five Americans in the top 10 against four Europeans, with Adam Scott the other man to feature.
Unheralded Lynn second in his second Major
We barely saw him hit a shot all week until a remarkable recovery shot on the final hole, but the Englishman, originally from St Helens and now living in Stoke, enjoyed the week of his career.
Specifically, the weekend was where he did his scoring, a pair of 68s only three worse than McIlroy over the two days.
Lynn’s only previous Major appearance came in the 2003 Open at Sandwich, yet here he was finishing stronger than the likes of Tiger, Poulter and Justin Rose. He has now earned a place at the Masters next April as well as rising to a career-high of 40th place in the world rankings.
David Lynn has earned a place at next year’s Masters
Awkward decisions for Love
As is so often the case in the final week of Ryder Qualifying, nothing actually changed in the end. Steve Stricker promised much, but eventually finished in an inconsequential tie for 11th.
So the eight qualifiers are as follows: Woods, Bubba Watson Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson.
Davis Love, the USA captain, chooses four wild cards on September 4 to round out the team. The leading contenders at this stage are Stricker, Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan and Dustin Johnson. All five were expected to make this team. At least one will be disappointed.
Presuming nothing changes in the next three weeks, it will give us an insight into the type of captain Love is going to be. The safe choice would be to leave out either Johnson or Fowler. The more daring would be to omit one of the veterans, Furyk or Stricker.
Poulter moves into the European team
You could tell how upset he was that a round beginning with six straight birdies ended with four bogeys in the last six. But as he left Kiawah Island you wonder how long it took him to realise that he is now in occupation of one of the precious 10 qualifying spots for the Ryder Cup.
In truth, he was surely the first name on captain Olazabal’s list for a pick if required, but Poulter is a proud man and knows it should not come to that.
The man he knocked out, Sergio Garcia, is also an obvious pick, presuming he wants to be involved. Unless something startling happens in the next fortnight, there will be no further changes to the team, and presuming Garcia is his first selection, that will leave Olazabal to choose between the likes of Padraig Harrington, Nicolas Colsaerts, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Matin Laird. It could be a very interesting selection.