Rory McIlroy: Predicting Where He'll Finish at the Next 10 Majors
Rory McIlroy may have taken Woods' role as the player to beat in majors.
His win in the U.S. Open that captured his first major is a sign of things to come. McIlroy has proved that although he may not look like Woods or play his style, he is the new man in golf to imitate.
Let's take a look at how McIlroy will do in the next 10 majors.
The Open Championship 2011: Royal St. George's
Royal St. George's will host its 14th Open Championship in 2011.
McIlroy will return to the UK for a tournament that suits his eye. He will have swift momentum riding with him from his US Open performance at Congressional.
There have been surprise winners at Royal St. George's in the past, namely Ben Curtis.
McIlroy will likely ride his momentum to a Top 10 finish, but fall short of back-to-back majors.
PGA Championship 2011: Atlanta Athletic Club
The Atlanta Athletic Club is somewhat similar to Congressional.
It feels like McIlroy's time. Not just to make a splash in golf but to take over as the face of the game.
In the PGA Championship in Atlanta, he will likely have to battle against a recovering Woods. Woods is expected to be even more motivated to come back with a vengeance after the McIlroy comparisons to Woods began.
In this scenario, McIlroy proves he is ready for the spotlight and finishes off a phenomenal year with two major wins.
The Masters 2012: Augusta National
In his return to Augusta National, McIlroy will have some violent nerves.
Whether he admits it or not, the 10th hole on Thursday will prove how McIlroy is feeling on the inside. A shaky tee shot will show that he has completely moved past the meltdown on Sunday at The Masters.
McIlroy will likely struggle to dominate for three days like he did in 2011 and find that Augusta is not ready to let him win quite yet. He will make the cut and manage to finish in the Top 25.
US Open 2012: The Olympic Club
McIlroy's ability to hit fairways will benefit him at The Olympic Club.
The last time the US Open was hosted here was in 1998, when Lee Janzen won with a score of even par. Clearly, this course will challenge the field.
By this time, Woods will be back in form. This will be the time that he finally wins another major. It is likely that McIlroy contends but settles for a Top 15.
The Open Championship 2012: Royal Lytham & St. Annes
The Open Championship might turn into the tournament that McIlroy consistently dominates.
In 2012, at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, a course filled with rich tradition, McIlroy will win.
There has only been one Open winner over par, and that was in 1926 when Bobby Jones won. It has a history of allowing low scores, which suits McIlroy's game well. He gets his third major in this scenario.
PGA Championship 2012: Kiawah Island Resort
McIlroy is known to have a free-flowing swing that he repeats over and over. I am not sure that this style translates to the setup at Kiawah Island Resort. McIlroy will find it difficult to adjust to a unique location for a major.
It is plausible that a surprise winner could take the Wanamaker Trophy home in 2012. McIlroy will salvage a made cut, but finish barely in the Top 50.
The Masters 2013: Augusta National
2013 will be the year McIlroy finally jumps over the Augusta hump that has haunted him.
It will likely take until at least this version of The Masters for McIlroy to overcome what happened in 2011. He will probably go on to win a number of times at Augusta National. This will be his first win here and his fourth career major victory.
US Open 2013: Merion Golf Club
Merion Golf Club has not hosted a US Open since 1981. The course is now prepared for a new age of players that bash the ball around the course.
Ben Hogan's one-iron on the 72nd hole is one of the most famous shots in the history of the game.
McIlroy's game will coincide with the Merion setup for a couple of days. He will not last and will accept a Top 15 finish.
The Open Championship 2013: Muirfield
Yes, he is at it again. In this case, McIlroy will fall just short in what will soon become his tournament.
Woods will make one last-ditch effort to salvage his spot at the top, as he takes down McIlroy for maybe the last time in a major.
Muirfield will be an eerie site for this event, as McIlroy realizes he still has plenty of time to chase down Woods' records.
McIlroy finishes second at Muirfield.
PGA Championship 2013: Oak Hill Country Club
McIlroy will be evidently impacted from his duel with Woods in the final major of 2013.
Shaun Micheel won the PGA Championship in 2003; the last time Oak Hill hosted the event. In the 2013 version, another unexpected champion will arise above a strong field.
McIlroy will finish in the Top 40.
If McIlroy can end 2013 with four majors under his belt, he will be extremely satisfied. As he continues to impress, the comparisons to Woods will only be magnified. In due time, we will learn if he truly is prepared to be the new face of golf.