What We Learned: Deutsche Bank Championship


Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the week. This week, we focus on what's in the bank for Deutsche Bank winner Rory McIlroy and the conundrum one player found himself in after a social media gaffe.

I learned that Rory McIlroy has a lot of work to do in order to pass Tiger Woods. No, not in skill level or recent major wins or some inane statistical ranking that may show Woods ahead of him. In overall career PGA Tour earnings, Woods became the first player to top the $100 million mark with a solo third-place finish on Sunday, while poor young McIlroy remains more than $88 million behind. That’s more than a bit facetious, of course, as Rory pulled a solid $1.44 million winner’s paycheck to cruise past the likes of Tom Watson and Tom Kite on the all-time list. Not bad for a 23-year-old who didn’t even own Tour membership last year. Perhaps someday McIlroy will also pass that nine-figure milestone. If he does, his first words afterward should be a nod of gratitude toward his fellow $100 million man for paving the way. – Jason Sobel

I learned – or, better yet, was reminded – of the dangers of social media. World No. 2 Luke Donald became the latest cautionary tale, tapping out a few regrettable tweets Saturday night about his distaste for the redesigned 18th green at TPC Boston. There was no issue with his first message – in which he vented about how unfair the green complex was – because he’s entitled to his own opinion and, frankly, several players voiced that sentiment, too. But then, in what was supposed to be a private message, he tweeted his phone number and called architect Gil Hanse an inappropriate name. The screenshot went viral, at least in golf circles.

As he should, the classy Donald owned up to his mistake and apologized Sunday, then suggested that he would “take a hiatus” on Twitter. That’s too bad. The Englishman is one of the true delights on the medium, often enlightening followers and even exchanging a few light-hearted jabs with his peers. One insensitive tweet – even if deleted within seconds – can be captured by anyone with a smartphone. That can lead to ridicule, and that can lead to an apology, and ultimately, that can lead to a fine, a public reprimand or a loss of sponsorship dollars. Perhaps it’s a good thing Twitter is 140 characters or less. – Ryan Lavner

Rory McIlroy isn’t temporarily holding down the No. 1 world ranking this time. He is nailing it  down. Good luck wrestling it away again, fellas.

For a couple years now, we've had caretakers rise to the top of the world ranking, but that revolving door is closing. McIlroy is the game’s best player right now. Nobody has won more titles (3) on the PGA Tour this year. Nobody has won more money on the PGA Tour this year. Nobody has won more money on the European Tour. Nobody has more FedEx Cup points, and nobody has more Race to Dubai points.

At his best, McIlroy blew away the field at the PGA Championship three weeks ago. Without his best coming home Sunday, he still prevailed at the Deutsche Bank Championship. McIlroy is still figuring out what it takes to reign over the game, to reign over all the distractions that entails, but he’s learning fast.  – Randall Mell