Now that the “Rory McIlroy era” is officially underway, many fans could argue that Tiger Woods is his biggest rival. That is true only if Woods can stay healthy for an extended period of time. For the foreseeable future, though, for what it’s worth, Rickie Fowler is McIlroy’s rival.
Let’s start with the obvious.
Woods is 38. McIlroy is 25. Fowler is 25. Can someone please tell me the outlier of that group?
There isn’t really an age limit in golf, but both Fowler and McIlroy should be teeing it up a lot longer than Woods.
If Woods actually stuck around for 10 or more years and actually competed at a high level, that would be awesome. The way things are going, Woods would be lucky to play another season or two.
Getting his A game back will lead to winning the majors, but getting healthy is what is going to lead to him actually getting on the golf course. The whole Woods competing for years to come isn’t for today’s entertainment, though.
McIlroy made his PGA debut in 2007, Fowler in 2008.
McIlroy has 10 top 10 finishes at majors. Fowler has six, four coming this year. Here is the big kicker, though. McIlroy has won four majors. Fowler has won zero.
McIlroy will likely always be ahead when it comes to who is the bigger star, but Fowler is really coming on this year and has not hit his stride yet. Rory is in the process of hitting his stride, but the big question with him is whether or not he can keep up his dominance.
If he can, he may be the one to break Jack Nicklaus’ majors record.
“It depends on what he feels his priorities are, and that’s his call,” said Nicklaus, according to ESPN.com. “I think Rory has an opportunity to win 15 or 20 majors or whatever he wants to do if he wants to keep playing. But you just don’t know what the guy’s priorities are going to be in life 10 years from now.”
If Fowler keeps up his unbelievably consistent pace at majors, a McIlroy-Fowler rivalry is inevitable. After all, Fowler finished in the top five at all four majors this year. McIlroy, the No. 1 golfer in the world and the new superstar of this sport, only finished in the top five two times this year. Take that Team McIlroy… he won both, though.
Rickie Fowler becomes just the third player ever to finish top five at all four majors in a calendar year, joining Tiger and Jack.
— Bryan Armen Graham (@BryanAGraham) August 11, 2014
It’s hard to not try and set up a rivalry, though, just like it is hard to not compare Rory and Tiger. No matter how you look at it, Rory and Fowler are both young, and both of them just had great seasons — not quite over yet.
McIlroy has all of the hardware, but Fowler has arguably been a top-five player all year long, especially when it comes to majors. If both golfers keep up their great play over the years, especially McIlroy since he is a superstar in this sport, golf will be getting a bunch of attention. For once, that attention will not be a result of Tiger Woods.
Better yet, though, if both players can stay this good, we will see an amazing battle between the two at just about every major.