Blog Entry

Rory's road to top of mountain looks good

Posted on: February 23, 2012 8:26 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 8:40 pm

By Steve Elling

MARANA, Ariz. -- Don’t look now, but the week is shaping up rather nicely for world No. 2 Rory McIlroy.

After surviving his second-round match at the Accenture Match Play Championship on Thursday with a 3 and 2 win over Denmark's Anders Hansen, McIlroy will face 48-year-old Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez on Friday.

No knock on Jimenez, the oldest man in the field at age 48, but his magic seems destined to evaporate at some point and there's plenty on the line for McIlroy, who can ascend to world No. 1 with a victory.

More importantly, McIlroy might the lone guy on the property who isn’t grumbling about the greens at the Dove Mountain course, which are a shade on the severe side, in the minds of most.

"The greens are okay," he said. "To be honest, I feel pretty comfortable reading them. I don't feel like  I mean, it's very obvious, the greens. It's not like some of the greens you get where it's very subtle.  It's very obvious."

He might want to tell a few of the 16 players who were dispatched Thursday, including Tiger Woods, who raked balls around on the greens all week.

His bracket is probably the weakest of the four, with Jimenez, John Senden and Sang-moon Bae as the remaining four.

As for achieving the No. 1 ranking at age 22, he's been hearing it non-stop for a couple of days now.

"Everyone keeps telling me, so it's hard to put it out of my mind," he said. "It's a little bit of extra motivation this week knowing that if I can get through four more matches, I could go to the top of the world rankings, which is obviously a huge moment for my career."

Category: Golf

Since: Sep 16, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:15 am

Rory's road to top of mountain looks good

I may as well make it three in a row (Donald, Woods), so I'll say McIlroy wins this tournament. The key is not his putting, but his amazing chipping/sand shot ability that gets him close enough for a short putt or gimme.

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: February 23, 2012 9:16 pm

Rory's road to top of mountain looks good

I hope it's not a jinx, but I'm starting to allow myself to get my hopes up.  No match is easy at this level, but I guess objectively speaking, a 10, 11, and 13 field is more navigable than Kaymer's 2, 4, and 6.

I'd sure love to see Rory keep it going.  Quite honestly, my expectations were low going in, primarily because of the nature of the tournament.  Then his failure to close strongly yesterday was worrisome.  As was Faldo's comment about Rory's right knee action.  Sadly, one of the casualties of today's All Tiger All The Time GC covereage, was we didn't get to hear Nick follow up on that discussion today.

If Rory and Westwood reach the semis, that would set up a pretty interesting match, given the OWGR ranking repercussions for the two of them.  But let me not get ahead.  First thing is Jimenez tomorrow.  If Rory wins that, he'll do no worse than T8 which would keep his record of consecutive good finishes going.  Oh, wait.  He's already assured of no worse than T9, so nothing to worry about on that front.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or