[credit provider=”Rory McIlory/Twitter” url=”http://twitpic.com/4jqjuf”]
Rory McIlroy’s back nine collapse on Sunday ranks among the worst in the history of The Masters, if not the history of golf.After leading for most of the first 63 holes, McIlroy triple-bogeyed the 10th. In one hole, he dropped from first place to seventh and never recovered.
It was brutal to watch, but the consensus seems to be that the 21-year-old from Northern Ireland will be back.
He handled himself admirably in post-match interviews and didn’t make excuses for himself. He’s not some wily veteran on his last legs. He can only get better, right?
Or will he? There are plenty of young superstars who have showed the promise of a budding champion — some of even won majors — but then disappeared.
It’s still not on par with the most famous collapse of recent memory: Jean Van de Velde’s triple-bogey on 18 at the 1999 British Open, when a double would have won it. Van de Velde never finished higher than 19th in a major again and missed the cut in a few of them.
Sergio Garcia is still looking for his first major after storming onto the scene more than 10 years ago. Dustin Johnson blew two majors last year and struggled in first try this weekend. A young Justin Leonard won the 1997 British Open, then routinely missed the cut at different majors throughout the rest of his career.
That isn’t meant to disparage these guys, who have all had fine careers. And there’s no reason McIlroy can’t be a fantastic pro for years to come.But the truth is that you don’t get a lot of chances to lead The Masters after 63 holes, and not every 21-year-old is equipped to handle such a devastating loss.
McIlroy is doing OK, so far. Only time will tell, if he can get back to the top.