McIlroy, the world's number one golfer, continued his dominant play of 2012 in this match. The European pair had a 3-up lead after 11 holes, but the Americans came back to make it interesting.
Still, the mark of a true dominant player is being able to hold off challengers. You're never going to be perfect. McIlroy missed a putt on the second hole that allowed the Americans to take the lead. But McIlroy bounced back, hitting a terrific birdie on the fourth hole. That's the mark of a dominant player.
You also need luck to do well in golf (or for that matter, any sport) and McIlroy got some. He hit a tee shot that was headed too far right, but it hit a tree and landed squarely on the fairway.
There's absolutely no doubting that McIlroy is the best golfer in the world right now. He's incredibly skilled and shows poise well beyond his 23 years. He's cool under pressure and has maintained composure with every golfer in the world gunning for him.
His playing partner, Graeme McDowell, is enjoying it: [via Reuters]
My job is easy. I'm playing alongside the greatest player on the planet right now.
Dominant golfers need to come up big when the chips are down. Tiger Woods did that for years. With this match tied heading to the 18th hole, it was McIlroy and his partner that pulled it out.
We're entering a potential new golden age of golf. McIlroy is only 23, and has a long career ahead of him. Assuming health, McIllroy may turn into the next Tiger. Today's performance did nothing to deny that claim.