Rory McIlroy Learns from 2011 Masters, Buys Choke Insurance in US Open

Dan CondieContributor IIIJune 18, 2011

BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 17:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during the second round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy has found himself in a familiar position, leading a major tournament after 36 holes. He accomplished that same feat just this past April at the 2011 Masters at Augusta.

The two situations are a little different this time around. At the Masters, McIlroy led second place K.J. Choy by three strokes after the second round. This time, McIlroy is so far ahead of the pack (six strokes), he's drawing comparison's to Tiger Woods.

Seems a rough year to be an all-time great. Not even Michael Jordan is safe from talks of his being overtaken as the best ever by his own former teammates.

McIlroy is all too aware of the uncertainty of golf. Just because you play well one day does not in any way guarantee a similar result playing the next day. In fact, in my own personal experience, it seems just the opposite. If I shoot a great round, I know a blowup round is lurking.

Watching McIlroy essentially choke the last round of the 2011 Masters away was like watching the scene in an epic hero movie, where the main character gets. Everything is going great, things are looking up, finish line in sight and then the hero gets knocked down and has to start from square one again.

McIlroy sure seems to have learned a valuable lesson from the Masters, and that is you can't play not to lose in golf. You start to alter swings for "safer" shots and get out of the aggressive rhythm that gave you your lead in the first place. 

You want the Tiger comparisons to stick kid? Here's how. Tiger was amazing because he was relentless on Sundays. Sunday play will define your career.

For the better and also for the worse.