Ten years ago, when Rory McIlroy was fifteen years old, his dad made a bet. He bet 400 pounds that his son would win the Open Championship before he turned 26 years old. The odds on that bet were 500-1, because honestly who wouldn’t take that bet? It probably seemed like a father with some crazy hopes and dreams for his kid. Now Rory McIlroy is 25, and today was his last chance to win the bet for his dad. He entered the final round of this year’s third major, the Open Championship, with a six stroke lead garnered through an incredible -16 performance over the first three days of the tournament. A win would give his dad 200,000 pounds and a great story to share.
Tiger Woods wouldn’t be an issue. After a respectable three under par first round, the former best player in the world struggled for the remaining three days, finishing +6 and in 69th place. He just hasn’t looked the same in the past few years and despite the sizable number of Tiger believers left, I don’t think he ever really returns to his former self, let alone pass Jack Nicklaus for most majors all-time.
The main competitors seemed to be Rickie Fowler, who surprised no one by wearing orange today, and the forever runner-up Sergio Garcia. From the beginning of the round, it was evident today wouldn’t be a walk in the park for Rory. Through six holes, Sergio Garcia had come from behind by seven strokes to three. Garcia birdied three of the first six holes, moving up to -12, where McIlroy fell from -16 to -15.
It was the easiest day on the week on the course as a whole, and many players were able to shoot -5 or better on the day, including -7s by Jim Furyk, Marc Leishman, and Shane Lowry who all finished in the top 10, as well as Chris Wood. Holes 16 and 18 had more birdies than pars, even.
For most of the back nine the story was the same, and Rory McIlroy held a three shot lead. At times it looked like McIlroy was in a bit of trouble, but Rickie Fowler failed to hit a few crucial fairways and greens, while Sergio Garcia took two shots to get out of the bunker on hole 15.
In the end Rory McIlroy, at -17, won by two strokes over Garcia and Fowler, with Jim Furyk at -13 and Australians Marc Leishman and Adam Scott at -12. Phil Mickelson had a decent week finishing 23rd at -5.
With this win, McIlroy becomes only the 7th golfer to win the Open Championship wire to wire, leading at the end of every round with no ties. He is also the third youngest golfer to win three major titles, only trailing all-time major leaders Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Oh, and Rory and his dad win a total of just over 2,000,000 US dollars if you convert pounds to dollars.
I guess this round goes to show how hard it is to win a golf tournament, especially a major when trailing by at least six shots coming into the final day. Rory McIlroy didn’t have a great day, but he made up for it on the first three days.
Thanks for reading,