Monday, May 3, 2010

The 947th Golf Writer to Talk About the Changing of the Guard


I think it is important we all see this weekend for what it was, no more, no less. Two young, great, incredibly impressive golfers won events in spectacular fashion. They did it with emotion and flair, the likes we haven't seen since Tiger Woods stalked Augusta National in 1997.

While Ryo Ishikawa was putting together a record score continents away, Rory McIlroy was sleeping, awaiting his final round after just making the cut at the Quail Hollow Championship on the number. He didn't have any reason to foresee a victory, he just wanted to go out and make some birdies and hope for the best.

But his front nine started to unfold, and the shots kept ending up where he wanted them, and before we all knew it, McIlroy's 62 was the answer to Ishikawa's 58. It was a match made in birdie heaven.

That said, one win for the both isn't going to make this whole game change. There is nothing better than when guys we want to win actually do win, and McIlroy did it with a slobbering Phil Mickelson chasing after him, but it is still just a victory for the young McIlroy, and another Japan Tour title for Ishikawa, who did it on a golf course shorter than the one you probably play at.

A changing of the guard involves a few things, but mostly it means that we are out with the old, in with the new. As we all know from golf, this never happens. If you don't believe me, think back a really long time ago, to the 2009 British Open. A guy named Tom Watson nearly won the damn thing, as Tiger Woods was already back in Florida, two days shy of golf at Turnberry. Then, Woods stumbled as an older legend thrived. This week? Just the opposite. Tiger missed the cut as McIlroy (And Rickie Fowler) played magnificent golf.

Is it exciting for the sport? Hell yeah, who isn't pumped to see guys like these play well, and get trophies. The game is going to need some names to take the reigns when Tiger eventually flames out, five or 10 or 20 years down the road. Is it calls for some sort of ceremony welcoming in the young guns? No, not at all. They've been here the whole time, and wins will keep coming for both.

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