-- There was once a time not too long ago that we measured greatness in golf against the otherworldly accomplishments of Tiger Woods.
Rory McIlroy is a long way from Tiger's 79 wins, including 14 major championships. But all signs indicate that after his victory at Valhalla, his second consecutive major win, McIlroy is on his way to setting his own bar for excellence in the sport.
Other notables on my board -- Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Jim Furyk -- were great this week at Valhalla. But McIlroy was just too good. His grasp on greatness could shape the next 20 years in the sport.
With his remarkable play, Mickelson reminded us of the past. But McIlroy and Fowler showed us on Sunday that the game must push forward with new superstars who will inspire us to support great, compelling pro golf, no matter who is playing it.
Rory McIlroy World Ranking: No. 1 | Scores: 66-67-67-68
CBS golf analyst David Feherty playfully called McIlroy a "baby-faced killer" on Sunday after he made a birdie at the par-4 17th on Sunday to take a two-shot lead. After falling three shots back of the lead, the 25-year-old Northern Irishman took his game to another gear. The pivotal moment in his run came at the 590-yard par-5 10th hole, where he made eagle to get within a shot of the lead.
Adam Scott World Ranking: No. 2 | Scores: 71-69-66-69
Sergio Garcia World Ranking: No. 3 | Scores: 70-72-66-73
In the final round, the Spaniard had an opportunity to back up his 66 on Saturday with a strong finish at Valhalla. On Sunday, he had a 2-over 73 to finish in a tie for 36th. It was his worst finish in a tournament since a tie for 38th in June at the U.S. Open.
Henrik Stenson World Ranking: No. 4 | Scores: 66-71-67-66
Justin Rose World Ranking: No. 5 | Scores: 70-72-67-67
Bubba Watson World Ranking: No. 7 | Scores: 70-72-73-72
Jim Furyk World Ranking: No. 8 | Scores: 66-68-72-66
Jason Day World Ranking: No. 9 | Scores: 69-65-69-72
Starting his final round three shots back of the lead, Day had a great chance to win his first major championship. But he never got any forward momentum on Sunday. A double-bogey at the par-4 16th killed any chances of him staying near the lead. After starting his day in a tie for fourth, his 72 on Sunday dropped him to a tie for 15th.
Phil Mickelson World Ranking: No. 13 | Scores: 69-67-67-66
Rickie Fowler World Ranking: No. 18 | Scores: 69-66-67-68