With his fantastic win at the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool last week, Rory McIlroy has, hopefully, shut up his critics for good.
I can name several great golfers who have gone a lifetime without winning one major championship. So, to win three at the age of 25 is insanely good. In fact, it is so good that he should be bracketed with the legends already.
Despite all that was going on with his life, and I do believe that the off-the-course happenings were reflecting in his game, I had not the slightest of doubts that Rory would win majors again. And I am also sure that he will win many more of them in the coming few years. He might even threaten Jack Nicklaus’ record mark of 18 — he is that scary good.
There were a few things that stood out in Rory’s dominating win.
The thing I was most impressed with was how good he was with the driver. Royal Liverpool is perhaps one of the easiest golf courses in the Open rota, but it still has danger lurking in every nook and corner, and there is also the famous precedent of Tiger Woods using the driver just once in 72 holes to win here last time in 2006.
But McIlroy just pounded the course into submission as he bombed away merrily with his driver. Rory’s driving is the foundation of his game and, once he is on song with that particular club, it is difficult to stop him.
There was a lot of talk of the “Freaky Friday” syndrome that he seemed to be suffering from. Obviously, that seemed to be a trend almost the whole of this season and I am sure the sparkling 66 in the second round last week would have put an end to that run.
Rory was also heavily criticised for his thoughts on playing links golf a few years ago. I read many articles based on those comments three years ago when he missed the cut last year at the Open in Muirfield. So that is another issue that Rory has addressed for good.
Looking forward, there is going to be a lot of hype and interest around the PGA Championship in two weeks’ time, and more so when the Masters arrives in April next year.
Valhalla is a golf course that should play into the hands of someone like Rory and, at Augusta National, he will have the chance to become only the sixth player in the history of the sport to win a career grand slam.
— Jeev Milkha Singh is a four-time champion on the European Tour