Louisville, Kentucky: Talk of the `Tiger era` being replaced by a `Rory era` escalated after Rory McIlroy thrust himself into golf`s pantheon of greats by clinching his fourth major title at the 96th PGA Championship on Sunday.
While Tiger Woods ended a disappointing week at Valhalla Golf Club by missing the cut at a major for only the fourth time as a professional, McIlroy won his third consecutive tournament with a dazzling display of shot-making down the closing stretch.
The Northern Irishman overcame a scrappy start to triumph by one stroke after a final-round shootout on a rain-softened layout ended in near darkness, and the superlatives were once again being heaped upon the 25-year-old from Holywood.
"It`s beginning to look a little Tiger-esque I suppose," former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell said of his fellow Northern Irishman, who has won two majors in just three weeks.
"I said to the boys at the (British) Open (where McIlroy won last month), I didn`t think we were going to see the new Tiger era, as in someone creating their own kind of Tiger-esque era just yet.
"I`m not eating my words but I`m certainly starting to chew on them right now, with the WGC (Bridgestone Invitational win) and another major this weekend. When the kid is playing well, he`s pretty tough to live with. Pretty special stuff, yeah."
McIlroy himself is wary of any hype that golf could now be entering a `Rory era` of individual dominance.
"I try and put all this talk aside every time it comes up," he said after becoming the fourth youngest player to land four majors, with only Tom Morris Jr., Jack Nicklaus and Woods ahead of him.
"Tiger and Jack are two of the most successful players in our sport of all time. I`m on a nice track at the minute. I`ve still got a long way to go, but to be in their company at this age is very special."
Whatever McIlroy says, he clearly possesses abundant talent, a strong work ethic and that magical `it` factor which is reserved for very few players.