Where Have All the Young Guns Gone? At Least There’s Rory Mcilroy
By Stephanie Wei under General

There’s a name that’s not Y.E. Yang or Tiger Woods near the top of last week’s leaderboard deserving of attention. It’s this kid, Rory Mcilroy, who finished T3. In his first appearance at a PGA Championshp, he shot scores of 71-73-71-70, three-under for the tournament. His final round tied Yang for low round of the day.

Yesterday, he started with a double-bogey, but managed to follow with 4 birdies on the front nine. His secret?

I’ve been very patient. I didn’t get flustered when I made a 6 at the first. I knew that I had a few chances on the front 9 to get it back, and I had four birdies after that on the front nine to turn at 2-under and the back nine was playing very tough today. To shoot level par on that back nine with this wind, I felt was a really good effort.

When the 20-year-old from Northern Ireland took the grand stage this season, we had great expectations. So far, he’s living up to them. He secured his first professional win in February at the Dubai Desert Classic. With the exception of the British Open, where he played as an amateur in 2007, it was the first time he’d competed in any of the majors. And, he’s made every cut in them in ‘09, including a T10 finish at the US Open.

So, what’s next?

This is my first year in the majors, all four of them. My results have been pretty good. I finished 20th at the Masters, I was disappointed at the British only finishing 46th, but the other two have been really good. So I’m looking to build on these results next year and hopefully try to do a bit better.

His game is all-around solid — he pipes the ball off the tee, and more important, he can putt. The thing is, he tends to have a few holes where he has a few doubles and sometimes even a triple in a round. But, it appears that he recovers well from his mistakes. Most likely, they’re just a result of his age and inexperience. (Then again, we’ve seen Padraig Harrington, a veteran and three-time major champion, make two snowmans on consecutive Sundays.)

From the looks of it, Rory has a bright future. He carries himself with tremendous poise, both on and off the golf course — it’s hard to believe he’s barely 20. He’s level-headed, humble and charming, no less. And, what might be most crucial is preventing the fame and money that come with being a young rising star from getting to his head (a la many of his contemporaries). But luckily, it seems like Team Rory won’t let that happen.

[Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images]