Rory McIlroy is the latest sensation in the golf business and many are attempting to recreate the success. I followed him for the rest of the round and although I can’t remember all of the details, I will never forget the third hole – one that will have me staking any free bets I get on Rory to win for the rest of my life!
An uphill par-five, it was playing directly into the jaws of a hurricane. Trees, caddies and soaking journalists struggled to stand up in it. McIlroy made the best par I have ever seen in the flesh, and that includes Ryder Cups, Open Championships and myriad tournaments the world over.
I can’t be entirely sure of the clubs, but I’m pretty sure he went driver, three-wood, mid-iron, chip and a putt. The wind was playing havoc with the trajectory of the ball, but the 17-year-old leathered every shot low off his front foot, the ball screaming through the wind and giving it two fingers as it carried on regardless.
What struck me about his performance on a freezing day in Wales was exactly what struck me watching him win the US Open this weekend and every other time I have seen him play in between – his complete and utter confidence in his ability, his down-to-earth nature and that his swing is made of liquid gold.
I’d love to say that I was convinced he would be a world-beater that day but it would be a lie. He looked great, don’t get me wrong, he was a plus five amateur, but for every Rory McIlroy there is a Freddy Adu and it is impossible to extrapolate a career based on 18 holes or one overhead kick.