After Further Review: Does Rory have a real rival?


Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on Rory McIlroy and rivalries, a wealth of young American talent, and a curious confluence of circumstances involving the number 59.

With apologies to headline writers everywhere, “Jordan Rules” and “The Rickie Era” may have been a bit premature. While Jordan Spieth’s victory at the Masters was inspiring – after all, it’s not often a 21-year-old adds a green jacket to his closet with such flare – and Rickie Fowler’s triumph at The Players will be a boon for golf, not to mention Rickie; Rory McIlroy is still the game’s best player. The world No. 1 can overpower a golf course, like he did this week at the Wells Fargo Championship, the way no other player can. Rivalries are always healthy, but when McIlroy is on he has no rival. - Rex Hoggard

Jordan Spieth’s best buddy and said best buddy’s roommate are doing pretty OK for themselves. Justin Thomas earned his fourth top-10 finish of the season on Sunday, bouncing back after a disappointing final-round 75 last week at Sawgrass. In his last four events, he’s gone T-11, T-12, T-24 and T-7. Rodgers, of course, finished tied for second and just missed out on earning status for the remainder of the year. Between Spieth and Rodgers and Thomas, the future of American golf, particularly when it comes to future Ryder Cups, looks plenty bright. Even better, these guys actually like each other. That could help. - Nick Menta

Interesting developments around the number 59 over the weekend. First, Rory McIlroy admitted he was thinking about shooting a 59 while on his way to a spectacular 61 on Saturday at Quail Hollow. Then on Sunday, Roland Thatcher missed shooting a 59 by thismuch when his final birdie bid didn't have quite enough speed and curled just left of the cup. Later Sunday, Kevin Sutherland lost a Champions Tour playoff to Jeff Maggert in the Regions Tradition. What does Sutherland have to do with 59s? He was the first (and still only) Champions Tour player to shoot a 59, doing it last year. But to me, the most interesting thing about the number 59 is the list of players who have shot one on the PGA,, Champions and LPGA tours. Annika Sorenstam, Al Geiberger, Chip Beck, David Duval, Paul Goydos, Stuart Appleby, Jim Furyk, Russell Knox, Will Wilcox, Jason Gore, Doug Dunakey, Notah Begay and Sutherland. Other than Sorenstam, see any all-time greats there? Yes, Duval was No. 1, but his excellence wasn't sustained. There's no Nicklaus, no Palmer, no Hogan, no Snead, no Nelson, no Woods. Curious. - Al Tays