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Rory and Ryo go on a rampage

May 3rd, 2010 · No Comments

What a difference a day makes!

Entering the finale in Japan, 18 year old sensation Ryo Ishikawa trailed the veteran Shigeki Maruyama by six shots. Then he beat him by 14 with a mind boggling 58, 12 under par, to win by three over Hiroyuki Fujita and Paul Sheehan.

Half way around the world and about 15 hours later, fireworks exploded  again when Rory McIlroy unleashed a round for the ages at Quail Hollow. Going into the final round McIlroy, age 20 and 363 days, trailed the leader, Billy Mayfair, by four shots. When it was over, he had won by four over Masters champ Phil Mickelson (68) with a fearless round of 62.

And so, just like that, two mega talents who have been tagged for superstardom displayed their prodigious talents with masterpieces of their own, serving notice that they are ready to take their place atop the world stage, and sooner, not later.

Indeed, it looks like youth will be served, and it could possibly come at Tiger Woods’ expense. While his game and his mind are in a deep funk, these wunderkinds have nowhere to go but up, being at that point in their careers where breakout performances like these (and major titles) are a matter of when not if.

What makes their emergence so exciting is that both have drawn rave reviews for the personalities and their on course demeanor. Indeed, as they ply their craft they look to be enjoying the game, unlike their far more decorated idol, who makes golf look like a funeral march.

So, on a weekend when Tiger shot rounds of 74-79 to earn am early trip back home, Ishikawa (on an easier course) fashioned scores of 68-70-71-58! McIlroy rounds were 72-73-66-62! It is too soon to say that May 2 was the day golf changed forever. Still, when we look back in a few seasons, perhaps it will be remembered as the time when two long awaited rivals emerged to threaten Woods quest to become the Best Ever.

While he hasn’t won yet on the PGA Tour, let’s not forget the third member of the R Boys, Rickie Flower. He closed strongly with a bogey free 33 on the difficult back nine for a 67 to move up 20 places into solo sixth. This gives his four top eights in 12 starts this season, so a W or two this season would come as no surprise.

The trio’s big weekend produced significant movements in the World Golf Rankings. McIlroy jumped from 13th to 9th, Ishikawa improved from 47th to 38th, and Fowler closed in on the top 50, going from 68th to 51st.

What a day it was! While some mourned the loss of Woods’ presence on the weekend, golf proved again, as it did at the Masters, that it is not a one man show. Mickelson closed with a 68, grabbing solo second with a 14 footer on the final hole, Rory and Ryo showed the talent and closing skills of a Mariano Rivera, and Fowler lit up the screen with his brilliant all orange attire and his game.

So, going into this week’s PLAYERS, we’ve got story lines galore, and that aren’t all spelled Woods. The game is evolving, stars are shining, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Tags: Challengers · PGA Tour · The Game

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