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The changing of the golf guard upon us at the PGA Championships

McILory Mania Poised to Explode
Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Heavy rains postponed tee times in the final round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla this afternoon. But not even soggy weather can dampen Rory & Rickie’s ascendance as the biggest names of golf’s mid-twenties set look to take a hold of the sport’s reigns.

Proponents of the Rory era will cite this statistical nugget for proof positive that the McIlroy age is very well upon us. At 25 the Northern Irishman is already in the company of only two other modern golf luminaries to win three legs of a career grand slam. Those other guys to get there at around his age are the games top household name Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods and winning his second Wanamaker would silence any remaining critics.

Rickie Fowler doesn’t even have to top the leaderboard to make history. If he can stay on the top page of the leaderboard today he’ll also join the elite company of two aforemntioned living legends golf fans all know by just their first names in Jack and Tiger. Fowler would join them as the only players to finish in the top five at all four major championships in a calendar year.

Of course if the man in black has anything to say about it, generation next may have to hold on a little bit longer. Mickelson still has a lot of gas left in the tank and if lefty can get the job done today he’ll be knotted up with Lee Trevino and Nick Faldo at the lofty six major titles mark. Doing the deed would also tie him with Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, and Jack Nicklaus with most major win by players 39 years or older.

The only way to spoil the party would be for an unheralded player who remains very much in the mix like say a Bernd Wiesberger, ranked 70th in the official world golf rankings to pull off the upset. Sure Wiesberger’s only three years older than Rory McIlroy so the youth movement theme would be very much intact but still if the relatively unknown Austrian kisses the Wanamaker Trophy it’d be a major hit to the dawn of McIlmania.