RORY McIlroy’s win over the weekend, at the BMW Championship in Indiana, was magnificent.
The field featured an array of players from both the European and the US Ryder Cup teams in Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter, but McIlroy was the stand-out performer.
The boy just goes from strength to strength, and I even think there’s a hell of a lot more to come. He’s only 23 so he’s going to go on winning tournaments for the next 20 years; we’re very fortunate to have him in Europe. It’s amazing.
I’d totally expected him to make the progress he’s made and achieve what he has; he’s that good. I haven’t seen any weaknesses in McIlroy. The boy just gets better every year and he’s learning all the time. Again, you can expect a lot more from him in the future.
RYDER CUP BOOST
As the No1 in the world, McIlroy’s the most important player for the European Ryder Cup team. His form is obviously hugely encouraging for them and the captain Jose Maria Olazabal but he’s not the only one that did well – Westwood and Poulter did too. Essentially, their form continues what has been an incredible six weeks for Europe.
Vijay Singh had led McIlroy at one point but even though he didn’t finish top it was still a great performance. The man’s 40 but he is up against the best in the world so it’s difficult to sustain that level of performance. He will be disappointed because he is a hell of a player and would have thought that he could win.
Tiger Woods produced a solid performance but when you’re discussing him it’s wins you expect, and winning by four or five shots, and he’s not doing that. McIlroy put him in his place; the No1 has changed now – it’s not Tiger any more, it’s McIlroy.
Peter Hanson is another European player and his win at the KLM Open at Hilversum was a good one for him. Nicolas Colsaerts and Martin Kaymer – who are also on the European team – may not have stolen the show but that’s no problem when Hanson’s done well, and they were still solid enough.
When a team gets a series of results like Europe’s individuals have just done, it’s a confidence boost for all of the players and everyone involved. They should be extremely confident about their chances.
Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. He has won 21 European Tour titles iand famously sank the putt that clinched victory for Europe in the 1985 Ryder Cup. He also captained the side to victory in 2002.