Sunday, June 19, 2011

What Would a Collapse Mean for McIlroy?


Thanks to the great people at Lexus (hey, go buy a Lexus ... heck, buy two!) for the entire weekend, we will be at out Congressional posting and tweeting from the U.S. Open. Swing by and check out what we have to offer and follow us on Twitter at @shanebacon.

BETHESDA, Md. -- Everyone that has ever watched major championship golf, or seen Rory McIlroy swing a golf club thinks the 22-year-old is a lock to win the U.S. Open this Sunday at Congressional. All week he's been playing slow pitch while everyone else has been trying to hit a Josh Beckett fastball, and McIlroy is now 18 holes away from his first major with an eight shot lead.

I hope he wins. You hope he wins. Everyone besides his ex-girlfriends are probably rooting for the boy wonder right now.

But ... what if he doesn't? What if he collapsed for the second major in a row just outside Washington D.C. and didn't pull it off? What would happen then?

I hate to say things are career-threatening, because you just never know how people will respond, but I think the best analogy for situations like this is when rookies make it to the Super Bowl. Sure, they are all fired up to get there, and probably enjoy the madness of the weeks heading up to it more than someone that has been in the league for 10 years or so, but when the game begins, they're out to play football. Win or lose, a young guy making the big game during his first year probably thinks he will be there a dozen more times. It's how they think about these things because they've yet to be proven otherwise. So far, they're one-for-one.

Right now, McIlroy has been absolutely dominant in the majors. He's shared the lead in the last four majors at one point over the 72 holes, and while this one is a lot different than Augusta two months ago, it's still much of the same. He's still holding a mighty lead after playing some beautiful golf for 54 holes, and just like the Masters, he's been forced to sleep on this lead every night.

I think if McIlroy lost this Sunday, it would take him a long time before he could get himself going in a major again. He'd head to the British Open and anytime he got in contention, or heaven forbid leading, these feelings would creep back in. His drive off the 10th at the Masters. Whatever moment caused his train to wreck at Congressional.

McIlroy is supposed to win multiple major championships. He was born to. That's his destiny. And I really hope he wins today because that will make the youth movement on the PGA Tour actually start moving. Someone was eventually going to breakthrough, and there is no better player to do so than Rory.

But if he lost ... if he couldn't pull this out, we'd really have something to worry about. For Rory's sake, let's just hope this post is just words in a few hours, and not something to look back on as prophecy.

Getty Images

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