by Jeff Skinner
Rory McIlroy has made himself at home on the PGA Tour this season. After a second place finish at The WGC Match Play last week he takes a two shot lead into the final round of the Honda Classic. With all the talent in the world and a maturity that few 22 year olds have McIlroy is positioned to be the world’s next dominant golfer. Only he better not look over his shoulder today.
Each week on the PGA Tour it seems that the worst place to be in is the lead at the start of the final round. Half the tournaments this year have been won by golfers who came from behind and no lead is safe. Just ask Kyle Stanley, Spencer Levin and Charlie Wi. But McIlroy wouldn’t have it any other way.
McIlroy has the burdensome expectations to be the best golfer in the world on his young and newly buff shoulders. With a win here he’ll become the number one golfer in the Official World Golf Rankings. He’d be the second youngest world number one in history behind his childhood idol, Tiger Woods.
About a year ago McIlroy started the final round at The Masters with the lead and promptly self-destructed. He soon found redemption with a record win at The U.S. Open and has found a new strength within himself. He knows that the world is looking for him to take his place at the top but he acknowledges the pressures on him. “When you get yourself into positions in tournaments like his, it’s not just the golf you have to deal with,” McIlroy said. “It’s everything else that goes on outside that. That’s something I feel like I’m a lot more comfortable with. I feel like a better player all around.”
If McIlroy can hold his lead and win the Honda he’ll be number one, certainly a significant accomplishment for any golfer. But with The Masters just around the corner he could be starting the first phase of an amazing season.
McIlroy should get familiar with teeing off with the lead on Sunday. He’ll be there time and time again for years to come.