Tuesday Tee-Off – September 11

Rory Revs Up a Win at the BMW Championship

Last week I gushed about Rory McIlroy’s convincing triumph at the second leg of the FedEx Cup, the Deutshe-Bank Championship. This week brings more of the same. McIlroy finished at -20 once again and trumped the field by two strokes. His second victory in a row marks the first time since 2009 that someone on the PGA Tour won in back-to-back weeks, and McIlroy’s victory at the BMW Championship all but locks up player-of-the-year honours for the young Ulsterman. McIlroy, who didn’t even have his ‘A’ game for most of the tournament, was still dominant in firing a 5-under 67 on Sunday to close out the tournament. Saturday was a pivotal day, as after playing with Tiger Woods for the first two rounds, McIlroy was able to ‘turn a 76 into a 69’ as he admitted on Twitter. It’s scary when even when he is not at his best he can still dust the best players in the world. A scenario reminiscent of a young Mr. Woods.

Tiger & Rory, BFFs?

After Thursday’s first round, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy stood side-by-side and conducted a post-round interview on the Golf Channel, together. In the 15 years of watching Tiger Woods play golf, I don’t think I had ever seen him conduct an interview with any other golfer (save for during team competitions). They were complementing each others games, bouncing conversation back and forth, and then proceeded to head into the clubhouse to move tables around and have lunch together. Tiger, the ever-steely eyed competitor, and Rory, the heir to the throne, had been paired together for the last few tournaments given their top standings in the FedEx Cup race. But, what they were giving fans was a glimpse into what golf is going to be like for the next 10 years. You want to win a major? You’re going to have to go through one or both of these guys. Woods sees in McIlroy the same thing that Jack Nicklaus saw in Woods: greatness. Woods was never one to pal around with his contemporaries (Els, Singh, Mickelson, Goosen, etc) but in the 23-year-old McIlroy, he now has a worthy adversary. Does Woods like seeing Rory take his lunch money the past two weeks? Definitely not, I’m sure. But, is this fueling the competitive fire in Woods once more? Absolutely. And golf fans are to benefit.

Canadian Round-Up

The Canadian Tour’s inaugural Great Waterway Classic at Smugglers Glen in Ivy Lea, Ontario took place this past week and a familiar face rose to the top. Eugene Wong, the winner of the Canadian Tour Championship three weeks ago, and the Vancouver Open last week, emerged victorious by one stroke. A wonderful start to Wong’s career, and a wonderful start to what should be a long relationship with the Tour and Eastern Ontario…Graham DeLaet & David Hearn both fell short of making to the Tour Championship after magical runs in these FedEx Cup playoffs however, DeLaet must be in the conversation for Comeback Player of the Year after missing most of 2011 with a back injury… the National Allied Golf Assocation (NAGA) is set to release findings from it’s Canadian Golf Consumer Behaviour Study on Wednesday… After last week’s t-2, Ottawa’s Brad Fritsch is one of the favourites heading into this week’s Web[dot]com Tour’s Albertsons Boise Open…Victoria, B.C.’s Kevin Carrigan won the final Golf Canada Championship last Friday at the Canadian Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship at Point Grey Golf & Country Club in Vancouver.

The Grand Finale

After nearly 10 months of tournament golf, the ‘main’ PGA Tour season comes to a close next week at EastLake, for the Tour Championship (this week is ‘off’ as guys prepare for the Tour Championship, along with the Ryder Cup in two weeks). The top five guys in FedEx Cup points – who all can win the $10 million prize with a victory in Atlanta – are Rory McIlory, Tiger Woods, Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson, and Brandt Snedeker. Mathematically, any of the remaining 30 guys can win the FedEx Cup – Bill Haas was ranked 25th before winning it all last year – but it’s likely to come down to one of the top guys. Hard to bet against McIlroy at this point, but Woods or Dustin Johnson (who has finished in the top-6 in the previous three Playoff events) would be great picks.

Regardless of outcome, look for just one more ‘Tuesday Tee-Off’ column to come prior to the Ryder Cup in Chicago before shutting down until January. It’s been a fun weekly post to do!

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