Rory McIlroy Will Win the 2017 Masters
Yes, Rory isn’t exactly a darkhorse pick in any tournament but with Dustin Johnson winning everything and Jordan Speith in top form McIlroy is hanging out in the background this year. He’ll use that to his advantage and take home the coveted Green Jacket.
It’s silly to say things should have happened but Rory McIlroy should have won the Masters already. He was making a bit of a mockery of the field back in 2011 until he embarked on one of the more spectacular collapses in Masters history and finished 15th.
Plenty of time has past since then and Rory has been top of the class for those 6 years. Not like Tiger back in the 2000s but we probably won’t see a player dominate like that ever again. McIlroy has plenty of company at the top these days. Dustin Johnson is now the #1 player in the world and shows no signs of slowing down. Nevertheless, McIlroy’s game is in top form and his mind seems to be very much focused on Augusta. In fact, he was recently quoted saying this year is “all about the Masters” for him. Let’s briefly recap what Rory has been able to accomplish since things went South for him at Augusta back in April of 2011.
McIlroy has already proven he can win majors and do so in spectacular fashion. After the meltdown at Augusta, most wrote of McIlroy for the US Open. It’s just not possible to come back after such a catastrophe and win the next major of the year. Or so thought the pundits and armchair sports psychologists. Of course, Rory went on to obliterate the field in the 2011 US Open. Jason Day finished a distant second at 8 shots back.
The performance Rory put on during the 2011 US Open at Congressional was absolutely phenomenal. It showed that he has the ability to essentially take over a tournament and leave the field in his wake. Even though the tournament was a foregone conclusion it was still incredibly exciting to watch because Rory has a flare for that kind of thing. He hits absolute bombs off the tee and starts knocking down pins with his irons when his game is in top form. And since he has one of the most athletic and downright prettiest moves on the planet he essentially becomes a one man highlight reel when he’s on fire.
Showing his dominating US Open victory was no fluke, McIlroy went out and put on another ball striking clinic during the 2012 PGA Championship. He ended up winning by 8 strokes like he did at Congressional only this time it was a tournament record.
The argument can be made that 2013 was a lost year for Rory as he struggled through an equipment change but 2014 was a different story. McIlroy won the 2014 British Open at Royal Liverpool and then won the PGA Championship to record his fourth major victory. Rory has a knack for winning big events. He consistently performs well at World Golf Championships and has won both the Race to Dubai and the FedEx cup. You already knew Rory is one of the best golfers on the planet but a little review never hurt anyone.
But why is this year going to be different? Why is this going to be the year Rory wins the Green Jacket and completes the career Grand Slam? It just is. There’s no statistical analysis that can be done to guarantee such a result but he’s physically healthy, his head is in the right spot, and by all accounts his new equipment is perfectly optimized for his move. He’s got everything going for him.
True, he did get upset in the first round of the World Golf Championship Match Play but these things happen. Match play is a different beast all together. You can play well enough to shoot 65 in stroke play but run into a golfer who has one of those perfect days that would have earned him the first round lead and the course record so you’re done after the first day. Rory definitely isn’t dwelling on it and is laser focused on Augusta. Also, if you got to see any of the match, McIlroy was absolutely destroying his drives and splitting fairways. His ball striking seems to be peaking.
Rory also has what happened at last year’s Masters on his side. You might be thinking something like “He played in the last round last year and lost to Jordan Speith. He played poorly and admitted after the tournament that the pressure of winning the career Grand Slam got to him.” And you’d be exactly right for thinking that. But this is only another reason why he’s going to win this year. If history has shown us anything about Rory is that he is beyond resilient and learns from his mistakes and misfortunes. Sure, he could have skulked and let another near miss at Augusta ruin some or all of the rest of his year. But instead he went out and won the Irish Open in May and then the Deutsche Bank Championship in September. Then to top it off he won the Tour Championship in a spectacular come from behind playoff victory that also won him the FedEx Cup and the $10 Million pot that comes with it. Isn’t it crazy how much money is up for grabs for hitting a little white ball around the track?
It’s been a relatively quiet 2017 so far for Rory. He hasn’t yet won a tournament but that doesn’t mean much of anything. Dustin Johnson and Jordan Speith are the odds on favorites heading into Augusta and for good reason. DJ is winning tournaments left and right while Jordan seems to play Augusta like it’s his home town municipal course. But the cliché “Horses for courses” has plenty of truth behind it and McIlroy’s game is a perfect fit for Augusta. Rory is going to walk away with the Green Jacket this year.
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