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A New Threat To Tiger Woods In Rory McIlroy

Tiger Woods has won 11 Arnold Palmer Awards on the PGA Tour over the past 14 years.  However, the newest golf phenom has to be Rory McIlroy, living proof that no matter how good you are, there’s something out there itching to be better.  Nowadays, McIlroy is getting the PGA attention, while poor Tiger has to contend with personal life scandal, which has to be affecting his game.

McIlroy has become the first golfer since Tiger Woods to win a PGA Tour before turning 21.  He has been shattering records left and right, ever since his debut, including the 72-hole aggregate score of 268 (16-under), which defeated Tiger Woods’ own (272 12-under).  Much of the golfing world has traded allegiances, naming McIlroy as the PGA’s best, even comparing him to the old Tiger Woods in ability, youth and golfing accuracy.

Adding insult to injury, though it could also be called a reflective statement of the golfing world in general, McIlroy said Tiger has been “playing like an ordinary golfer.”  He also noted, “I’m not sure we are going to see him dominate again the way he did.”  That’s one of the joys of turning 35, Tiger!

It’s hard not to be on McIlroy’s side, as he is a young Irish athlete, every bit as charming and gracious in person as he is confident in his game face.  He has represented Northern Ireland and has won prestigious honors even as a teenager.  Before he won the PGA Tour in 2000, he won the European Tour in 2009.  Add to that U.S. Open Championships and a Top 10 spot on the Official World Golf Rankings and you have yourself a hungry young lion eyeing an aging tiger.

Tiger took a leave from the golfing world in 2009 and returned in April of 2010.  Woods still has plenty to lose – he’s the richest sportsman in the world, having earned approximately $100 million.  However, in the golfing world he has fallen (even before McIlroy) to Lee Westwood, who took Tiger’s #1 spot.  After an unfocused year, Tiger is now ranked #17, which is his lowest since his debut, and hasn’t enjoyed a victory in nearly two years.

What do you think?  Is Tiger going to make a comeback any time soon or is that even possible given how much things have changed?  Is this the decade of McIlroy, or can Tiger ease his way into the role of victorious veteran?

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