Last year was perhaps the best of Rory McIlroy’s career. Coming off of his first major win at the 2011 US Open, he followed it up in 2012 by with a USPGA title.
He was then a key part of one of the most remarkable sporting comebacks in history, when Europe fought back from down 10-6 to defeat USA on American soil, on the final day of the 2012 Ryder Cup.
But since the start of this year, he has struggled to maintain the type of form that put him at the top of the rankings.
However, his recent performance at Doral, where he tied for eighth, although still not ideal, hinted at a return to form. And a return of form could not come soon enough, with the Masters just around the corner.
So what exactly would a victory at Augusta mean for Rory McIlroy?
A Return to Form
It may seem a little obvious, but there is no better way to cast aside your doubters than by winning a major tournament. The best athletes find their form when it matters most, and the Masters definitely falls into that category. A win at Augusta would also mean that McIlroy has finally adjusted to his new clubs. Much has been said about his recent switch in sponsorship to Nike, and many have pointed to that as a reason for his recent slump. Whether the problem is with his clubs or his swing, he will definitely put any of those doubts to bed with a win like this one.
A victory for Rory McIlroy would be the first time that the Masters has seen a British winner since almost two decades ago, when Nick Faldo won in 1996. The Masters is also an American-dominated tournament. Out of the 76 total tournaments, only 19 have been won by non-Americans. A win for McIlroy would allow him to make history in his own country, as well as stamp his name in the history of the tournament.
A Third Major
A win at the Masters would also allow McIlroy to join a select group of golfers who have won three majors. It would surely raise his hopes of joining an even more exclusive group of career grand slam winners – a group that currently only includes five golfers in the Masters Era. The British Open would be the only remaining title required, and how sweet would it be for McIlroy to complete the grand slam just a stone’s throw away from his native Northern Ireland?
He Beat Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods seems to have returned to at exactly the right time, and has made himself the clear favorite to take home the Green Jacket this April. If anyone else hopes to even have a chance, the man to beat will be Tiger Woods. McIlroy has benefitted from Woods’ crisis perhaps more than anyone else, but a win for him at the Masters would prove that he is a golf legend in his own right, and he would finally be able to step out from Tiger’s shadow.
His name, officially, is Rory McIlroy, MBE. In the 2012 New Years’ Honours list, McIlroy was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) by the Queen. Would a win at the Masters see him win a Knighthood? Perhaps not, but he can expect an OBE (Officer of the British Empire) or CBE (Commander of the British Empire) at the very least. And we might yet see Sir Rory McIlroy in the future.
Phil Oscarson is an avid golfer/golf analyst. He loves talking about golf almost as much as he loves playing it. If you’re looking to improve your golf game wherever you are, you can always find discount golf tee times at a course near you. Keep up with Phil on his google plus page, and don’t hesitate to tell him when he’s wrong. Which is more often than he’d like!