After Further Review: Rory the story at WGC


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 winning his second consecutive event and again ascending to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and how secrecy on the PGA Tour does everyone a disservice.

John Daly used to be freakish with his prodigious length off the tee. Today, we are witness to a generation of freaks. Is there anyone more fun to watch overpower a course with his driver when he is playing with confidence fully radiating than Rory McIlroy? Well, yeah. There is Bubba Watson and Adam Scott. And there was Dustin Johnson, before his personal life went OB. They can make every week look like golf's version of a home-run derby. You want to consistently compete for golf's biggest prizes today? You better have some freak in you. - Randall Mell

After Rory McIlroy won at Hoylake two weeks ago, I wrote that we were witnessing a transition right before our eyes, as the so-called Tiger Era morphed into the Rory Era.

If you weren’t buying into that narrative then, well ... how about now?

There has never been a more vivid line of demarcation between the two players as there was Sunday, when Woods withdrew from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with a recurrence of his back injury, followed a few hours later by McIlroy’s second consecutive victory.

That’s not to say Tiger is done, nor does it insinuate that Rory will dominate every event he plays, but the writing is clearly on the wall.

You can choose to read it or choose to ignore it. Either way, the transition is here. – Jason Sobel

While Rory McIlroy’s triumph and Tiger Woods’ withdrawal were the stories of the weekend, the story of the week was Dustin Johnson’s leave of absence and the battle of semantics that followed.

Whether he was suspended, took a voluntary leave from golf or some combination of the two remains unclear. What is clear, though, is that the PGA Tour’s reliance on lock-and-key secrecy when it comes to player punishment and suspensions has made a difficult situation all the more complicated.

Poker players can attest to the fact that an all-in strategy works every time but once, and the Tour’s insistence on preventing disciplinary action from seeing the light of day is one that has traditionally paid dividends.

When that information begins to become public knowledge, though, the policy can create more problems than solutions – especially when the Tour changes its mind on when it can and cannot comment on such situations. - Will Gray

It’s not just that he is long, because for every Bubba there is a DJ, for every Colsaerts there is a Woodland. And it’s not just that he’s (relatively) precise, because of the top 5 in driving accuracy only Tim Clark has won in the past four years.

No, it’s the fact that Rory McIlroy is long AND accurate. His drives are the most mesmerizing five seconds in sports. McIlroy’s propensity to hit the driver over and over again stands in stark contrast to the way that, say, Tiger Woods has cautiously plodded his way around courses in recent years, fearful of the big stick.

McIlroy’s entire game is predicated on how he starts from the tee, and lately he unsheathes driver and bashes away, his ball routinely sailing 330 yards and a few centimeters off the center line. What a sight. – Ryan Lavner

At first the PGA Tour held the company line, informing anyone who would ask that whatever happened to Dustin Johnson – be it a suspension following a failed drug test or a voluntary withdrawal from competitive golf – would not be addressed.

Within hours, the circuit circled back around with a statement riddled with varying shades of vague, “With regard to media reports that Dustin Johnson has been suspended by the PGA Tour, this is to clarify that Mr. Johnson has taken a voluntary leave of absence and is not under a suspension from the PGA Tour.” Whatever the reality, secrecy doesn’t work. - Rex Hoggard