On the same weekend, two extraordinary young professionals, in two different continents were making history.
Northern Ireland’s, Rory McLlroy distanced himself from a star studded field at the Quail Hollow Championship to win by four shots. This is McLlroy’s first win on the PGA Tour and it will be the first of many.
20 year old McLlroy has been on golf’s stage since he was 12 years old, first garnering international acclaim as a 15 year old by shooting 61 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. By the time he was 16 years old he was the #1 ranked Amateur player in the world. By 17, he was in third place at the British Open after the first round.
McLlroy turned professional immediately after that British Open and then earned his European Tour card as a non-exempt player in the final four months of that season. He would finish 2007, 95th. on the European Tour Order of Merit which was highlighted by a 3rd place finish at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
His breakthrough victory on the European Tour came in February 2009 when he won the Dubai Desert Classic.
McLlroy barely made the 36-hole cut at Quail Hollow before his virtuoso performance over the weekend. Quail Hollow is a very difficult golf course. The curly haired Irishman shot 66 on Saturday and a course record 62 on Sunday to beat Phil Mickelson by four shots. The 42 foot putt that he made on the last hole put an exclamation mark on day in which he recorded an amazing, 13 3’s on his scorecard.
By all accounts, this young man has his head firmly on his shoulders. He is polite and respectful of the veteran players, stays calm when things aren’t going his way and is fast becoming a crowd favorite.
Meanwhile in Asia, there was another young superstar being equally phenomenal. Ryo Ishikawa shot a final round 58 to win The Crowns tournament on the Japan Tour. It is the first time in history that a player has shot a competitive round of 58 on a major Tour.
Ryo Ishikawa won his first event while still an amateur at the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup at the age 15 years and 8 months.
Today, Ishikawa is 18 years old and has already been a professional for 2 years. By 2008, he became the youngest player in history to be ranked in the Top 100 Official Golf Rankings.
In 2009, Ishikawa was one of the 12 players representing the International team, in the Presidents Cup at Harding Park. Ishikawa was the leading money winner on the 2009 Japan Tour and this latest win gives him 7 career victories.
The future of golf looks very bright indeed.