As the 2012 PGA Tour season comes to a close, a new rivalry between two of the best golfers on the planet is born.
There is no doubt that the highly anticipated Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods rivalry will be talked about for many years to come. With Rory assuming the role of World No. 1, and Tiger lurking close behind him it seems like golf fans have something new to be excited about.
With McIlroy at the zenith of his career and Woods overcoming a year long slump, things ought to be interesting as 2013 rolls along. Tiger has three wins under his belt this year, a huge improvement from his lackluster performances in 2010 and 2011. Rory, on the other hand, has had another amazing year with another major championship and three more victories.
All the accolades do go to the young superstar this year, but Tiger still has plenty of momentum heading into 2013, which makes it quite difficult to determine who will come out on top next year.
If you take a look at the numbers, then the stats show that McIlroy is first in birdies per round, sixth in putting, fifth in driving distance, and 60th in greens in regulation. Woods on the other hand is fourth in birdies per round, 42nd in putting, 29th in greens in regulation, and 32nd in driving distance.
Given that Woods can maneuver the ball around the golf course with his long irons especially well and that he is older than McIlroy, driving distance doesn't make too much of a difference. They are both close in the birdies per round category, but where Woods lacks in putting he makes up in greens in regulation, and vice versa with McIlroy.
With both of their rankings and stats so close the deciding factor will have to be the major championships next year. Ironically, the two are pretty similar in their performances at the majors this year as well.
The two finished tied for 40th at the Masters, but Woods went on to a T. 21 finish at the U.S Open, a T. 3 finish at the British Open, and a T. 11 finish at the PGA Championship. McIlroy missed the cut at the U.S. Open, had a T. 60 finish at the Open Championship, and won the PGA Championship.
If the majors are truly the deciding factors of who comes out on top then I have to give the advantage to Tiger simply because he has the experience of winning 14 major championships and is due for one after a four year slump. If Tiger can keep the momentum going , and pick up major number 15 in 2013 there is a good chance he will reclaim his throne atop the world golf rankings.