The legendary Bobby Jones once remarked about an otherwordly star taking the sport by storm, "Jack Nicklausplays a game with which I'm not familiar."
Decades later, Nicklaus said nearly the same thing about another prodigy named
Woods probably won't say it -- at least not yet -- but he could say of
McIlroy showed again Sunday in the final round of the
In winning his second major championship in 14 months -- an 8-shot romp that broke Nicklaus' tournament record and followed his own 8-shot runaway last summer at Congressional in theU.S. Open-- the 23-year-old McIlroy gave golf something it didn't appear to ever have.
A true successor to Woods.
It's too bad that Woods, who did make a comeback of sorts this year with three
The 10 years that separated Nicklaus and
But Palmer was nearly done winning majors by the time Nicklaus started winning them, and I think the same is true now about the 35-year-old Woods. There is a chance for Woods to add to his total of 14 major championships, but it seems doubtful that he will ever realistically challenge Nicklaus' record of 18.
In watching Woods play the past three majors of the 2012 season, you saw only glimpses of the glory days in the first couple of rounds, followed by the sad, harsh reality that he will never be close to the dominant player he used to be.
Woods was in the hunt halfway through the
At Kiawah, he seemed to lose his feel of the greens late in Friday's round, and never got it back. In the weekend round of the past three majors, Woods never shot a round in the 60s.
McIlroy kept making birdies and pars, and en route to a closing 6-under par 66, looked much like Woods did in following up a historic 12-shot win in the 1997 Masters with, after a major swing change, his second major at the 1999 PGA Championship.
It was the '99 PGA Championship, at Medinah, where a rivalry seemed in the making when Woods held off a then 19-year old sensation named
Now there will be talk of a Woods-McIlroy generational battle, starting with their possible showdown at this year's
McIlroy's wardrobe choice for the final round of the PGA Championship was also interesting to note. He wore the same color shirt -- blood red -- that has long been Woods' trademark. Maybe it's time for Woods to change shirts like he has swing planes and coaches.
It would only be fitting.