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The Best Golfer In The World Now Can’t Even Touch Tiger Woods’ Prime

Rory McIlroy’s about to miss his second cut in a row as world #1. Know how long Tiger went without missing a cut?

GLYN KIRK / Getty Images

Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy contemplates on the 12th hole during the second round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club in Surrey, on May 25, 2012.

Northern Ireland’s golfing wunderkind, the 23-year-old world #1 golfer right now, is a hell of a player. His win at the U.S. Open in 2011 — in which he cleared the field by 8 strokes and finished at 16 under par — was one of the most dominant major wins by any golfer ever, and it happened for Rory at only 22.

By the end of Tiger Woods’ 22nd year, he also had a major win and the world #1 ranking under his belt. So, serious parallels right there. But two weeks ago, McIlroy missed the cut at the PLAYERS Championship, shooting a weak 148 over the first two rounds. And today, he’s about to miss his second cut in a row after posting a dismal 79 at the BMW PGA Championship.

McIlroy’s still incredibly young, so this shouldn’t be taken as any sort of major disappointment — he has nearly unlimited potential. But after his disappointing May, all Luke Donald needs is a top-eight finish this weekend to supplant him as world #1 — they’ve been trading the spot off and on. And his cold streak becomes more interesting when compared with Tiger Woods’ performances back in his heyday.

Tiger first took over as #1 in June 1997. In September 1997, he missed his first cut as a Tour pro, shooting six-over in the Bell Canadian Open. His next tournament kicked off a streak of 142 consecutive tournaments without missing the cut, spanning from 1998 to 2005. Even considering his recent difficulties, Tiger has only missed the cut seven times in his entire career, and NEVER twice in a row.

(Although Woods holds the official PGA record for most tournaments without missing a cut, there are questions as to whether Byron Nelson and/or Ben Hogan and /or Jack Nicklaus might have gone longer. After that, nobody even comes close.)

Those world #1s just ain’t like they used to be.

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