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Liguori: Rory McIlroy Takes Golf’s Baton From Tiger

(credit: Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

(credit: Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

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By Ann Liguori
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The baton has officially been passed. And I’m not talking about the U.S. women’s world-record, gold-medal, drought-ending performance in the 4 x 100 meter relay. No, I’m talking about Rory McIlroy taking over the ‘most talented golfer on the planet’ label that Tiger Woods wore for so many years.

When Rory wins a major, he really wins a major! He amazed us last June at Congressional when he ran away with the U.S. Open title there, winning by eight strokes and setting 12 records along the way.

And again this past Sunday, we couldn’t take our eyes off of the 23-year-old as he seamlessly and magically glided around the Ocean Course and won by eight strokes again, the largest margin ever at a PGA Championship. His final round of 66 looked flawless as he cruised to a 13 under 275 victory.

Rory is five months younger than Tiger was when he won his second major. The difference? Rory is not about to put any undue pressure on himself and say he’s chasing any specific number. He has that happy-go-lucky attitude, hopes to win more and knows how to handle adversity as he so brilliantly showed after collapsing at the 2011 Masters.

Before the 2012 Masters, McIlroy was asked what he had learned a year earlier.

“As golfers, we lose more than we win, so you sort of get used to disappointments,” he said. “It wasn’t the end of the world. It’s only golf. It’s not like anyone died out there.”

After 36 holes at the PGA Championship, Tiger had a share of the lead, as he did at the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club. But after he shot a 74 on Saturday, he was quoted as saying: “I came out, probably, with the wrong attitude. I was too relaxed and tried to enjoy it, and that’s not how I play…I play intense and full systems go. That cost me.”

Tiger and Rory — a contrast in game, styles and personality, certainly. My money’s on the Northern Irishman with the carefree attitude and sheer talent. The baton has been passed and what a breath of fresh air for the game!

Visit Ann’s website at www.annliguori.com and follow her on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

Your thoughts on McIlroy? Let Ann know in the comments below!