Nearly closing time for Rory McIlroy

Fourteen years ago we were talking about Woods the same way we're beginning to talk about McIlroy. The 2000 season is when Woods went Secretariat and won the U.S. Open by 15 shots, when he won the Open Championship by 8 strokes and won the PGA Championship in a playoff.

It was Woods' fifth major victory. And it was won here at Valhalla.

Now it is McIlroy who is seemingly unbeatable -- or, at the very least, unshakable. His peers recognize greatness when they see it.

"There's nothing wrong with his game: putting, chipping, bunker, whatever it is," said Martin Kaymer, who won his second career major in June at Pinehurst. "And he hits it probably 20, 25 yards longer than anyone else. It's impressive. He's definitely the best player in the world ... It's very difficult to beat him."

That becomes the next question: Can McIlroy close out another major? The answer is, "Duh."

"You've seen before when I got on a good run like this, I can sort of keep it going for a little while," he said. "Hopefully, I can keep it [going] longer than I have in the past."

Thirty-six holes remain. That's a half-life in golf. The golf gods could tie the laces of his shoes together and McIlroy could fall face-first. But I doubt it.

"When I'm playing like this, it's obviously very enjoyable and I can't wait to get back out on the course again ... and do the same thing all over again," he said.

McIlroy might not leave here with another silver adult beverage container, but it won't be because he folded like a Medicus. If anything, he'll try to win big. That's who he is now.

And who he still might be 14 years from now.

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