There’s nothing like winning, but when you can do it with style then there’s nothing sweeter.
And boy did Rory McIlroy win in style at Quail Hollow. He shattered not only the course record, but also a world-class field to secure his first triumph as a professional in America.
A last round ten-under-par 62 left this year’s US Masters champion and world No.2 Phil Mickelson now fewer than four shots back while last year’s Masters champion Angel Cabrera was a further shot back in third.
Rory also moved to ninth in the world which means that with Lee Westwood and Ernie Els also in that elite group, we now have three players in the world’s top 10 for the first time. Just three days short of his 21st birthday when he won in Charlotte, he is the youngest winner on the PGA Tour since Tiger Woods in 1996.
What was the secret of his success? Well I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Rory had had a couple of weeks at home just chilling out, playing social golf and letting the clutter flow out of his head. He became happy again and didn’t he just show how happy people play well.
Talking of birthday boys brings me on to Charlie Ford who celebrated turning 25 on Saturday by winning on the Challenge Tour in Turkey the following day.
Charlie, playing only his second Challenge Tour event and fourth as a professional, triumphed over Sweden’s Oscar Floren with a birdie at the first extra hole after the two finished on 11 under.
In Seville, few people will have paid much attention to Darren Clarke’s 30th place finish. Believe me, I did. Forty-eight hours earlier, I’d estimated that he would miss the cut in the Spanish Open and encouraged him to take the 2.40 flight back home.
Unbeknown to me at the time, there had been an error in the scoring and Darren would be involved for the final two days. He got back to Spain at 9.15, didn’t sleep very much and played some outstanding stuff over the weekend. Hopefully it’s the sign of things to come because nobody deserves it more.
Now all eyes turn to Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida, home of The Players’ Championship. There will be plenty focused on Rory after his fantastic week in Charlotte.