Rory McIlroy Moving Up the Ranks in Golf

After winning the final major of the 2014 golf season this past weekend, Rory McIlroy is on top of the world.  Holding off Americans Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, McIlroy shot a 3-under 68 on Sunday to take home his second straight major title and third straight tournament trophy.  McIlroy was in a four-way share of the lead with the aforementioned Mickelson and Fowler, as well as Swede Henrik Stenson, as he made the turn at Valhalla.  With play beginning more than an hour later due to steady rain in the morning, McIlroy needed to fend off his competitors and the darkness in order to hold on to the lead he built with a couple holes to go.  Once he reached the eighteenth hole, Rory had a two shot lead and when Mickelson’s attempt at eagle fell short, he needed just a par for the championship.  His second shot landed in a greenside bunker and he proceeded to knock it on the green for about a fifteen foot birdie attempt.  McIlroy was able to knock it within a foot of the cup to easily make par and send an adoring crowd into a frenzy.

In just a month’s time, McIlroy has gone from a player perceived to be oozing with unrealized potential to a player perceived to be a once-in-a-generation talent ready to knock on Tiger Woods’ and Jack Nicklaus’ door.  McIlroy has now won four majors: one U.S. Open championship, one British Open Championship, and now two PGA Championships.  Only the Masters remains for the career Grand Slam and Rory seems ready to battle golf’s greats in Augusts next April.

Rory McIlroy (Photo: AP)

Rory McIlroy (Photo: AP)

In the long term, his prospects seem very grand. Golf commentators and fans fully expect another four or five majors before he’s thirty years of age, putting him squarely in range to challenge Tiger and Jack. In the short term, Rory will focus on bringing home the FedEx Cup this season, as well as help his fellow Europeans win the Ryder Cup.

The next tournament Rory figures to play will be the FedEx Cup opener, The Barclays Golf Classic at Ridgewood Country Club.  Barclays Classic tickets have remained steady over the past few weeks with an average ticket price of $51 and a get-in price of $35.  So while McIlroy’s been lighting it up on the course, it has yet to translate to bigger crowds at the gate because of his success, something that was definitely attributable to Tiger during his reign of glory.

The Ryder Cup will take place at Gleneagles this year, nding on Sunday September 28th.  The cheapest Ryder Cup Sunday grounds pass you’ll be able to find currently is for $643.  The Europeans boast an all-star lineup, led by McIlroy and U.S. Open winner Martin Kaymer.  The German was expected to run away with the golfer of the year award before the Open Championship began, but McIlroy’s recent run has certainly made him the front runner.  Mickelson and Fowler will lead an American Ryder Cup team that will be without Tiger Woods and will try and bring back the trophy after a crushing defeat at home in 2012.

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