Tim Rosaforte - March 4, 2012


Talking to Ernie Els the other day, he has noticed how much he has become a part of the South Florida through the work with Els for Autism and his foundation has invited a number of kids from South Africa to spend the next 8 days in the U.S. with Ernie.

It seems like it is Rory McIlroy’s time to become World #1. You look at the way he has been playing and the fact that he is so comfortable right now in his life and in South Florida with his family and girlfriend visiting and on top of that, you have Rory’s connections to Jack Nicklaus through his membership at The Bear’s Club as well as the fact that Jack has mentored Rory.

The more he sees Rory McIlroy succeed, the harder he thinks it will be for Tiger Woods to get back to World #1. Of course, he can see a player like Harris English and thinks that his presence will make it harder for Rory to be World #1. The fact that Luke Donald has been World #1 for 40 weeks at this time is actually quite amazing. It takes a lot to be World #1 and it seems like the pressure is building around Rory but he also seems to like the fact that the pressure is building.

McIlroy is carrying himself like someone who wants to be World #1 and his offseason training has made him look more physically imposing. Rory has also worked hard to prepare himself for the final round pressure and be able to perform well with everyone’s eyes and everyone’s expectations on him.

Tom Gillis is a 43-year-old journeyman who has played all over the world and has never won on the PGA TOUR. He is grouped with McIlroy and English in the final round and Gillis lives in South Florida and is good buddies with Kris Blanks. He is a huge underdog today but The Honda Classic has seen underdog winners in the past with Todd Hamilton in 2004 immediately coming to mind. Gillis is quite capable of winning today and he seems to be in a winning mode where he is playing great golf but having fun as well.

He spoke with both Jack Nicklaus and Bill Belichick earlier this week and he was very surprised to see Belichick be completely different from the persona he has shown over the years in the NFL. Belichick was into the event and was open with his answers and very personable with everyone.

Harris English seems like the kind of kid who will have an incredible career and he has a strong pedigree with his years at the University of Georgia as well as a win on the Nationwide Tour while still an amateur. English’s presence in the final group on Sunday should keep McIlroy from getting too carried away with daydreaming about becoming World #1 with a win today. 

Tiger Woods has looked like a player who is patient with his game this week and that is what he needs to be if he is going to contend in the 2012 Major Championships. His children have watched him on the course this week and he is often talking about the positives he takes from every round this week.