Rory McIlroy (-17) Wins British Open

Biggest Winners and Losers

Top 10 Biggest Flameouts in Golf History

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Top 10 Biggest Flameouts in Golf History
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

As the race for the FedEx Cup comes to a temporary halt this week, there's no question who has taken control of the PGA Tour's annual fall classic and the world of golf.

The usurper is of course the precocious Rory McIlroy, who, at the age of 23, is leaving no doubts about  whence golf's next force will come.

The fast-learning Northern Irishman had already put together quite a golfing resume heading into August of 2012, notching a total of five wins (including three on the PGA Tour) and romping to a U.S. Open title in his early pro years.

In the past month, though, McIlroy's vast potential has really exploded into reality. A second eight-shot major championship win at the PGA and back-to-back victories at the Deutsche Bank and BMW Championships (events definitely not lacking in star power) have made up as impressive a stretch by a golfer since you know who, and effectively ended the jostling for World No. 1.

The bright star who first shone (for the general golfing public) five years ago at the Open Championship is on track to fulfill (if not surpass) the high expectations dropped on his shoulders.

However, don't think this success story is the norm.

There is little buffer for those burdened by hopes of superstardom. Sure, endorsements are there, but with no big performance contracts for financial security, no coaches for guidance during play and no teammates to fall back on, failure is always around the corner for a young golfing phenom.

McIlroy has managed to avoid the trap so far (granted, he did go through quite a slump this past summer, but his overall record speaks for itself), yet many have not been so fortunate.

Appropriately for a game that is associated with so much anguish, golf has humbled many once-upon-a-time-can't-miss-kids.

Here are 10 such cautionary tales of great young golfers who were crushed by expectations.

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