Rory McIlroy is now a two-time major winner after his dominant victory at the PGA championship. With that win, he can now be considered a legitimate rival to Tiger Woods.
At 23 years of age McIlroy is already a dominant golfer.
He's won his first two majors at a younger age than Tiger did, in the brilliant fashion that Woods used to show.
McIlroy has also been the No. 1 ranked player in the world on multiple occasions, and with his win at Kiawah, he took that title back.
However, as McIlroy seems to continue his skyrocket of an ascent, Woods stays stalled in the nowhere land in between average and extraordinary.
Woods has won three times on the PGA tour this season—more than any other player. But still, he's chastised because he’s now going on four years without a major.
At first it was because of injury, then the scandal hit, after that it was a swing change. Now, the reason for his struggle isn’t so easy to pin down.
Sometimes he goes through stretches where he looks like the Tiger of old, but then, he'll get to the weekend at a major and just can't perform.
It could be a mental thing, a hitch in the swing or an issue with the way he comes through with the putter. But either way, he's just not there yet.
However, the emergence of McIlroy as a potential great could be just what Tiger needs for motivation.
Throughout his career, Woods has lacked a true rival to push him.
Phil Mickelson was never consistent enough to do so. Ernie Els was seemingly squashed under the weight of Tiger's skill, and players like Sergio Garcia and Vijay Sign were mere flashes in the pan compared to Woods.
McIlroy is different though.
He has all the natural skills and ability to push Woods. He has a gorgeous swing, a great putting stroke and an "I'm not scared of anything attitude."
Not only that, his personality is the polar opposite of Woods. He's a nice, engaging, personable young man, who's always willing to answer questions honestly.
McIlroy is just a breathtaking talent, and maybe his success can give Woods the nudge he needs to get back to his original level of greatness.
Tiger is the ultimate competitor, but he was always forced to come up with challenges for himself instead of just heading to the course and squaring off with someone of equal skill.
McIlroy has the potential to finally be that guy.
He's had the success, has the skills, and most of all, has what Woods wants—a recent major championship.
McIlroy is just getting started and Woods has been at it for over a decade, but this could turn into one of golf's great rivalries.
More importantly though, it could be exactly what Wood's has lacked in order to get back to being Tiger Woods, you know, the greatest golfer on the planet.
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