AT THE start of every year Rory McIlroy jots down his targets for the season on a piece of paper, folds it up and puts it away in his wallet. Whatever he set himself in January, he ought to up it on current form.
With a swing like his, McIlroy could win every week. I don’t know how we conceives his goals each year; when you’re already the best player on the planet where else can you go?
The way Rory played at Quail Hollow over the weekend, when he broke several tournament records on the way to winning the Wells Fargo Championship – his second title in the space of three weeks – was nothing short of sublime.
His third round of 61, a new low for the North Carolina course, was quite incredible.
It’s almost impossible to find a weakness in his game. Watching him drive the ball is a lesson in balance and power; it’s extraordinary. Like many great players, he hits so many greens that it can make his putting look worse than it is, but even that seems to have improved.
I have known Rory since he was a boy, and while it wasn’t possible to know his mental strength back then, what has always been evident is that quality of swing. Even as a teenager he was also so grown-up.
Now he’s a young man with incredible aims and I am certain that he’ll fulfil them all. He also has an amazing physique which looks like it will prevent the ailments that sometimes afflict professional golfers.
The Masters didn’t go the way he’d have wanted it to but if recent weeks are any indication of what is to come then he could win this year’s remaining three Majors.
I felt a little sorry for Phil Mickelson, who finished in a tie for fourth, nine shots behind McIlroy, after tarnishing his third round with a triple bogey at the 18th.
Rory aside, congratulations are also due to James Morrison. The Englishman, 30, took a huge career step by winning the Spanish Open on Sunday, beating the unbelievably enduring Miguel Angel Jimenez into second place by four shots.
As a youth, Morrison played cricket alongside future Test captain Alastair Cook but it looks like he chose the right sport.
British crowds will get to show their appreciation for McIlroy this week at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
It’s a tournament that has to fight for prominence on the European Tour with other big competitions these days but is still a huge event for top players.
It’s been held at Wentworth for a long time – I first played it in 1972 – and the fact that Rory has jetted back from America to play it shows the prestige it retains.
Not only is McIlroy going for wins in back-to-back tournaments, he’s also aiming for successive victories at this event. It’s hard to bet against him but if anyone can challenge him there I’d say it’s Justin Rose.
Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam