published Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Greeson: Rory McIlroy becoming a one-name wonder

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland kisses the Claret Jug trophy after winning the British Open Golf championship at the Royal Liverpool golf club, Hoylake, England, on Sunday July 20, 2014.
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland kisses the Claret Jug trophy after winning the British Open Golf championship at the Royal Liverpool golf club, Hoylake, England, on Sunday July 20, 2014.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Boy, that was a profitable weekend for the McIlroy clan, eh?

Rory wins the Open. Pops and chums cash a 500-to-1 bet they made 10 years ago for a touch more than $300,000.

So how was your family's Sunday? Here's saying if it was half as good, you had a blast.

As for the tag that matters after 25-year-old Rory McIlroy went wire-to-wire to win his third major golf title, well, it's time.

Is this Rory's world when it comes to golf?

He's got the big deals, the big coin, the big game and the big resume. His third major puts him a green jacket from winning the career grand slam and already has him in some elite company: He's now one of three golfers in the Masters era to have three majors before he turns 26. The other two are guys you may have heard of named Tiger and Jack.

(Side note: There are certain lists that no matter the category, you know they are good by the other names on it. And when it comes to golf, if you are on a list with Tiger and Jack, well, that's a good thing. A very good thing.)

So Rory dominated, eliminating any Sunday major championship drama yet again by a dominant performance from start to finish. (Side note, part II: We are a snoozer at the PGA away from having zero compelling final-day story lines at this year's major championships. That's not a good thing. At all.)

So what is the takeaway from the Rory runaway?

First, we have to ask how good can Rory be? Right now, he is the best player in the world, and when he plays his best, we're pretty sure no one on the planet can beat him. Granted, the consistency that Jack and Tiger brought every week is still lacking in Rory's game, but that's picking nits to be sure.

No one had the week-in, week-out grind factor that made Jack the Bear and Eldrick the Tiger. They are wired differently, and if Rory is going to ascend in the pantheon of golf's all-time all-timers, well, he made need some rewiring. We love Phil and Bubba and the guys who dazzle with random greatness, but great randomness does not equate in the realm of all-timers.

Still, maybe this is Rory's time to launch. Golf needs a one-name star now that Tiger is simply a guy in the field. Rory could be that guy -- dude has the skills and the promise and the charisma. Rory could be that guy, especially when he is finishing holes and rounds and tournaments with a salty resolve that matches his effortless and fluid swing.

And more than that, he's another major or three away from being a talking point before every major.

We forget that in addition to Tiger's brilliance on the course, his place in history was always a compelling story at each major. Will he win and get closer to Jack? Could he catch Jack? Will he win 20 majors before he's done?

Those were all part of the grand show that was Tiger Woods at major championships. Now Rory is in position for a similar position. Rory's not there, of course; three majors makes you a great golfer, but it hardly makes you one of the all-time greats.

Still, Rory has laid the groundwork to be "The Guy" entering every major for the next decade.

Think of it this way: Phil Mickelson has been the second best golfer of his generation and arguably a top-10 player in the history of the game, but he did not win his first major until 2004 about two months before his 34th birthday.

Rory is at three majors and he's only 25.

Three majors and counting, that is.

Contact Jay Greeson at and follow him on Twitter at @jgreesontfp. Listen to Jay and David Paschall on Press Row from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN 105.1 FM and at

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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