After a dominant performance at The Open Championship and a win at the Bridgestone Invitational, Rory McIlroy is a man on a mission.
He regained the No. 1 world ranking with his latest triumph, making him the odds-on favorite to win the 2014 PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Course in Louisville, Kentucky.
Rory McIlroy wins @wgc_bridgestone and is No. 1 in the world again.— Brian Wacker (@pgatour_brianw) August 3, 2014
The event begins Thursday, Aug. 7. Here are the odds, per Vegas Insider.
Rory on the Rampage
Never before has McIlroy been this focused and determined to dominate. After winning the Open Championship in July, he showed no hint of complacency. Per Brian Wacker of PGATour.com, McIlroy said:
"I'm enjoying being The Open champion, but that's not all I want to be this year. I want to do more.
That's exactly what he did when he outlasted a red-hot Sergio Garcia in Akron, Ohio to win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday. Trailing by three strokes heading into the final day's action, McIlroy was lights out in the deciding round.
He fired a four-under 66 to win by two shots.
This season, McIlroy is driving the ball 310.3 yards per attempt and he's first in birdie average at 4.59. Every aspect of his game is clicking. There's no wonder he's the favorite.
Despite struggling mightily in his last two tournaments, Tiger Woods cannot be counted out.
That said, another injury has to make you wonder if he's in shape to be a serious threat to McIlroy and the other elite players in the field. Woods had to withdraw from the final round of the Bridgestone after injuring himself on an awkward bunker shot, per Bob Harig of ESPN.com.
This was just Woods' second tournament back since undergoing back surgery. Perhaps he pushed himself a little too much too early into the process.
With the PGA Championship set to begin in just four days, it's unlikely he'll be healed up enough to be a major factor. Still, because of who he is, he's one to watch.
Are we crazy to still expect Woods to deliver another virtuoso performance? Perhaps, but when a player has had as great of a career as Woods has, the expectations don't go away easily.
At one point, Rickie Fowler was just the young golfer with the bright, flashy outfits, but he's now become a complete player who is inching closer to winning his first major.
Fowler was tied for second at the U.S. Open and the Open Championship and tied for eighth at the Bridgestone. The three straight top-10 finishes are nothing to dismiss.
Shots like a brilliant eagle on Friday are proof of the high level at which Fowler is performing.
Fowler is on the cusp of a breakthrough, and this could be the week he captures the signature win he needs to take the next step in his career.
If you're looking for a sleeper, Fowler is your guy.