It seems an age since the last significant championship or contest, that being the Ryder Cup, at the end of September past. Looking at the odds for the event, in living memory, or certainly in this century I have never seen the contest for the coveted Green Jacket so even or uncertain. It’s brilliant.
The player with the shortest odds is Rory, who is looking to complete his Grand Slam and secure himself in the history books as truly one of the greatest talents with an all-round game. To give you an idea of how significant winning all four Majors is, only six players before him have achieved this almost immortal feat. These being Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazan, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and of course Tiger. If he wins this week, he will become the second this century and separate himself from the pack of players currently vying for the Number One spot.
The only other player who has a chance of the Career Slam, in his age group is Spieth. He needs the PGA Championship to complete his set, held in August. There is no doubt that McIlroy has set his stall out for the Masters, he has made a declaration to the golfing world that he is back and going to be a force in Georgia this year.
Some might say he could have been a touch more diplomatic in his approach and utterances, I mean calling the European Tour a stepping stone to the PGA Tour was not his finest hour. Although in a bland politically correct world where everything is almost scripted, every response run past a PR team, Rory doesn’t seem to have a problem saying what he thinks. He has also said that he is sick and tired of entering the Florida Swing or the FedEx Cup around sixtieth position. He is lying second at the moment and has the Players Championship under his belt too. So things are looking very positive for the Ulster man.
Looking at the form of the European players it’s pretty solid too, actually that’s an understatement, it’s scarily strong. Of the last five PGA Tour events four have been won by Europeans. Molinari wins the Arnold Palmer Invitational, McIlroy the Players, Casey the Valspar and a return to the winner’s circle for Graeme McDowell last week. So if the European Tour isn’t a stepping stone, there does seem to be a lot of our guys over there. And that doesn’t include Fleetwood, Rose and Rahm who the bookies say are worthy of consideration.
But there is one player who hasn’t been mentioned for a while as a serious contender for the title. He just took McIlroy’s scalp, head to head, last week and is the current FedEx Champion. He’s won it four times and has quietly risen to the twelfth spot. Tiger be his name. Who wouldn’t want to watch the spectacle of Tiger and Rory on the back nine on Sunday?
It looks like it’s going to be tight, which is great for us and golf, so buckle up, stay tuned and enjoy the show.
It does remind me of a story which occurred a few years ago between Butch Harmon and Tiger. Where Butch is telling Tiger about a Sunday round he had recently played at Augusta. The story goes that Butch had apparently played really well shooting sub seventy. To which Tiger commented, “Wrong Sunday.”
I’ll leave you with that.