Rory McIlroy: 15 Bold Predictions for the Next 15 Years
The phenomenon that is Irishman Rory McIlroy has taken flight, and the golf world is abuzz with the possibility that we are witnessing the start of a career that could go down as one of the best ever.
However, before we anoint the 22-year-old the Second Coming, let us take a step back and realize how lucky we truly are to potentially witness two of the greatest golfers to ever live.
As soon as McIlroy broke Tiger Woods' record of the lowest score at the 2011 U.S. Open, we started comparing the two.
From that day on, McIlroy and Woods will be forever linked.
For that exact reason, most of the predictions we will make of McIlroy in the next few years will be about stepping over or not living up to Tiger Woods' standards.
They seem like exact opposites, for now. McIlroy is the nice and polite young man, while Woods is the guy who picked up on a waitress at Perkins' Pancake House.
For now, they live in two separate worlds, but on the golf course, they are playing for the exact same honor. Both want to be the greatest ever.
Whether we are jumping to conclusions with McIlroy or not, his age and talent urge us to do so. For that, we make predictions in our mind.
Will he be the greatest ever?
We will soon find out.
15. Rory McIlroy Will Not Win Another Major in 2011
With the British Open and PGA Championship left to be played on the majors schedule, many are already jumping to the conclusion that McIlroy will at least win one of those.
Many are almost giving him the title as 2011 British Open champion already.
However, what may hurt him the most is the fact that immediately after the 2011 U.S. Open, he announced that he would take a three-week break.
What a three-week break is to him, I do not know.
Is he not going to pick up a club during that time?
The break will hurt him more than help him in this way. He was playing great golf up to the U.S. Open.
Why disrupt that?
14. Rory McIlroy Will Eventually Join the PGA Tour
McIlroy said on the Dan Patrick Show just days after winning the U.S. Open that he does not plan on joining the PGA Tour for at least the next several years.
However, within the next 15 years, his stardom will almost insist that he should.
With every win will come more pressure to join the most competitive tour in golf and become a bigger star in the United States.
McIlroy will succumb to that pressure.
13. Rory McIlroy Will Break Record For Most U.S. Open Wins
Currently, it is a four-way tie for the most U.S. Open Wins in the history of the tournament. The four players are Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus.
Given McIlroy's almost perfect play at Congressional CC, we can almost guarantee that he will win three more in his next 15 chances.
McIlroy put his full golf repertoire on display in 2011.
He is accurate and long off the tee, putts well, and is a good and consistent ball striker. Those three characteristics are what all golfers struggle with the most in a U.S. Open.
At 22-years old, McIlroy has already displayed those three characteristics and we can expect him to achieve that feat at least four more times.
12. Rory McIlroy Will Break Record For Most British Open Wins
Currently, the record for most British Open wins is held by Harry Vardon with six.
Although this would be hard for ant golfer to pull off, McIlroy is as good as any to bet that he could.
Many will agree that the easiest tournament for McIlroy to win would be the Britsih Open on a links-style course.
He already proved that he can contend as a 21-year-old back in 2010, but his overall game sets him above the rest in a British Open.
McIlroy is long and accurate with the driver, which only sets you farther ahead of the competition in an Open Championship.
At the least, McIlroy can pull a Tiger, and never take the driver out of the bag.
It is for that reason that McIlroy will eventually make his way to seven British Open victories.
11. Rory McIlroy Will Win Just One Major In the Next Two Years
Since McIlroy just won the U.S. Open by eight shots, so this prediction may seem a little crazy.
However, it would not surprise many if the U.S. open hangover hungover for a couple years.
It is hard for anyone to win a major, let alone a 22-year-old on the biggest stage. Although McIlroy is as good a man as any to overcome that, the fact of the matter is that he will encounter some bumps in the road in these next couple of years.
It is how he overcomes those bumps that will suggest whether or not he will be one of the greatest to ever play this game.
10. Rory McIlroy Will Not Make As Much Money As Tiger Woods
In 2010, Tiger Woods made $62.3 million in combined endorsements, salary and winnings. He made that much while enduring one of the hardest and most well-publicized years of anyone's life.
Can McIlroy do that?
Woods has several things going for him:
-Wears his emotions on his sleeve
-African American (very few on the PGA Tour)
-Has popular video game
-Has a flare for the dramatics
Will McIlroy ever accomplish any of that?
Yes, the 22-year-old is getting more endorsement deals than ever and is set to get absolutely paid in this next year, but will he ever make the type of money Woods was making?
9. Rory McIlroy Will Win Four Majors in a Row
Also called the Tiger Slam, McIlroy will at one point in the next 15 years win four straight majors.
We all saw what he can do if his game is on. There is nothing to stop him from doing it all in the same year.
Injuries are the only thing stopping this from happening, and with his flawless swing, he is built for years and years of dominance.
8. Rory McIlroy Will Take A Back Seat In Every Tournament Tiger Woods Plays In
McIlroy is on top of the golfing world, as it stands. However, when the king comes back, golf will change yet again.
McIlroy is talented, but although we have not seen him in a long span yet, Woods still controls golf.
He owns the sport because of the fact he wears his emotions on his sleeve, owns the Tiger fist pump and has brought us countless clutch moments.
Until McIlroy can do that, Woods still owns the spotlight in every tournament he plays in.
7. Rory McIlroy Will Break Own Record At U.S. Open
Although this record seems like it will never be broken, McIlroy's 16-under par performance in the 2011 U.S. Open will be defeated by none other than himself.
The U.S. Open is the hardest golf tournament in the world, with high rough, fast greens and tight fairways.
Players often come off the course with a headache because of all the thinking that is involved in surviving these terrifying conditions.
Still, McIlroy is poised to repeat what he did at Congressional CC, and then some.
Like I said in a previous slide, McIlroy has the ultimate set of tools to contend every time at the U.S. Open.
He is accurate and long off the tee, has great ball-striking ability and putts well.
That is the exact formula to winning at the U.S. Open, and there is no stopping McIlroy from putting on the exact show he put on in 2011 in the years to come.
6. Rory McIlroy Will Stop Wearing Bad Shirts
Did you cringe, as well, when watching McIlroy strut down the 18th fairway wearing a bland Oakley shirt with the branding "Jemeirah" on it?
Where I come from, the top player in the world should be wearing Nike or Titleist, not a faded Oakley collar.
McIlroy did just sign a three-year extension with Jemeirah, so expect that on his chest for the next few years.
Down the road, we will see the 22-year-old graduate to Titleist or another big-name brand. They will throw so much money at him that he will be forced to switch sooner or later.
Until then, enjoy watching one of the best players in the world rock something off the 50 percent rack at Sports Authority.
5. Rory McIlroy Will Not Beat Tiger Woods To Jack Nicklaus' Record
It is hard to say what has a better chance of happening these days, Tiger Woods catching Nicklaus or McIlroy surpassing both of them.
McIlroy has one major and has been in contention for three at the tender age of 22, and Woods has 14 majors but has been struggling with injuries over the last few years.
Who will get to 17 majors first?
I do not see how anyone can take McIlroy with their pick. Woods has a solid 10 more years in contention on the PGA Tour, and we all know how much he wants that record.
If we have learned anything, it is that what Woods wants, he gets.
Who knows what is in store for McIlroy?
He could be plagued buy injuries, or maybe the choking bug, like in the 2011 Masters. There are so many factors that go into the making of a golf legend, and it is too soon to crown McIlroy yet.
4. Rory McIlroy Will Not Break Jack Nicklaus' Record
If we have learned anything from the history of golf, it is that Nicklaus' 17 major victories is going to be a tough record to catch.
In golf, there are too many factors that can alter a players' career in this game.
Can McIlroy do it?
Sure. However, we thought Woods was a lock to overtake Nicklaus, and look where he is now.
It could be injuries or a mental block, but McIlroy has a lot to overcome before he challenges Nicklaus' hallowed record.
3. Rory McIlroy Will Break Tiger Woods' Record for Longest Period at No. 1
The current record for most weeks at No. 1 in World Golf Ranking is 281 weeks by Tiger Woods.
McIlroy will easily surpass that sometime in the next 15 years.
He will break that record mostly based on the fact that there is no young up-and-coming challenger that is ready to rival McIlroy for the next several years.
Is it this Patrick Cantlay from UCLA?
It is too early, yet.
McIlroy is already No. 3 in the world right now at age 22, so what is stopping him from grabbing hold of the No. 1 spot in the next year just as he steps into the best golf of his career?
McIlroy's talent and youth suggest that he can be at No. 1 in the world for a very long time.
2. Rory McIlroy Will Go Down As the Greatest European Golfer Ever
Currently, Seve Ballesteros is arguably the greatest European golfer to ever live.
He has won 50 times, the most by any European Tour player, and has five majors, which is only second to Nick Faldo.
McIlroy, at 22-year old, has three career wins and one major, as he steps into the prime of his golfing career.
The Irishman should dominate the European Tour, which he says he will play for the next few years, and I do not see anything stopping him from surpassing Ballesteros' 50 career wins.
As for major wins, it seem as almost a guarantee that McIlroy will surpass Faldo' six wins, instantly making McIlroy one of the best European golfers to ever live.
1. Rory McIlroy Will Win 14 Majors
I am not so quick to place McIlroy in golf history, but I will go as far as to say he will come close.
The reason we cannot immediately assume that McIlroy will be the greatest golfer to ever live is the fact that there are so many factors in golf.
We thought the same with Woods when we just about handed him the all-time majors record a few years back.
Now with knee problems, Woods will be lucky to catch Nicklaus' record of 17 major victories.
McIlroy has just one major, and although he has all the tools needed to become great in this sports, it is still too early.
He could be plagued by injuries or even catch several cases of the choke bug.
It is for that reason that McIlroy will come up short for the all-time major wins record, but certainly contend with 14 career major victories.