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    • MONDAY FINISH

      McIlroy aims for triple crown in Louisville

    • Rory McIlroy is in fine form entering the PGA Championship after winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. (Marc Lepecheur/PGA TOUR) Rory McIlroy is in fine form entering the PGA Championship after winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. (Marc Lepecheur/PGA TOUR)

    Rory McIlroy won the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday, overpowering Firestone Country Club for his eighth PGA TOUR victory.

    With two huge wins in two starts, it’s no question who the man to beat will be at this week’s PGA Championship at Valhalla.

    As the PGA TOUR heads to Kentucky for the year’s final major, we started thinking…


    FIVE STATS TO REMEMBER FROM THIS WEEK

    1) Let’s start with the obvious one: Rory McIlroy averaged 334.8 yards off the tee this week, the longest average of the season. That’s not the longest average by a winner this season, that’s the longest average by anyone this season. This would also be a good time to remind everyone that play was delayed on Sunday due to “wet course conditions.”

    2) Going a little deeper into Rory’s distance: He hit 82 percent of his drives over 300 yards this week, including 19 consecutive at one point. In the third round, all 14 drives he hit went over 300 yards.

    3) What might be even scarier to the rest of the world’s best golfers is how accurately Rory drove the ball. He was 12th this week in driving accuracy, hitting 60.7 percent of Firestone’s narrow fairways. The combination of his ranks in distance (1) and accuracy (12) made him the Total Driving leader with a total of 13. The next best in the field was Bubba Watson at 24.

    As one PGATOUR.COM staffer said, it’s essentially like Jim Furyk playing up two tee boxes.

    4) You can combine two more stats for another great one: The TOUR’s ball-striking stat is found by adding together a player’s total driving and greens in regulation ranks. This week at Firestone, McIlroy’s ball-striking score was TWO. (In other words, he led both categories.)

    According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is only the second time McIlroy has ever had a ballstriking total of two (2013 Wells Fargo Championship, where he finished T10).

    5) If you feel like you’ve seen Sergio Garcia on an unusually high amount of leaderboards lately, you’re not imagining things. Not only has Garcia finished second in his last three consecutive starts, he has eight top 10s in 12 starts this year.


    THIS WEEK’S THREE BEST VIDEOS

    1) This is the one video that I couldn’t stop watching this week, Rory McIlroy’s birdie at the opening hole on Sunday. McIlroy said after his win that this was the most comfortable he’s ever felt closing out a golf tournament and sticking this shot at the first after a rare wayward drive had to be a big part of the reason.

    Rory McIlroy’s approach threads the needle on No. 1 at Bridgestone
    • Highlights

      Rory McIlroy’s approach threads the needle on No. 1 at Bridgestone

    Rory McIlroy’s approach threads the needle on No. 1 at Bridgestone
    • Highlights

      Rory McIlroy’s approach threads the needle on No. 1 at Bridgestone


    2) The 667-yard 16th hole at Firestone Country Club always produces
    some of the year’s longest drives, thanks to balls landing on a severe downslope and shooting forward. But if you combine the geography of that hole with the freakish length of Bubba Watson, you get this:

    Bubba Watson records longest drive of the season at Bridgestone
    • Highlights

      Bubba Watson records longest drive of the season at Bridgestone

    Bubba Watson records longest drive of the season at Bridgestone
    • Highlights

      Bubba Watson records longest drive of the season at Bridgestone

    3) One of the zaniest parts of the telecast on Sunday was this moment, when a Sergio Garcia tee shot struck a fan and knocked the diamond out of her engagement ring. You can hear Garcia ask for the woman’s contact information, but thankfully, the fans in the area ended up finding the ring.

    Sergio Garcia’s tee shot hits fan’s diamond ring at Bridgestone
    • Highlights

      Sergio Garcia’s tee shot hits fan’s diamond ring at Bridgestone

    Sergio Garcia’s tee shot hits fan’s diamond ring at Bridgestone
    • Highlights

      Sergio Garcia’s tee shot hits fan’s diamond ring at Bridgestone


    ODDS AND ENDS

    One of the weirdest and most fascinating things about Martin Kaymer’s runaway win at the U.S. Open was the inspiration that he drew from watching “The Legend of Bagger Vance.” I’m not sure how much these movies helped Rory McIlroy’s golf game, but the results were about the same.

    There are Golf Boys imitators at every stop on the PGA TOUR, but these fans in Akron clearly take the cake. Kudos to Ben Crane for getting out his cell phone and documenting their effort before his round on Thursday.

    It takes quite an effort to beat a 59, but I guess you could say that Brock Mackenzie did it one-handed this week on PGA TOUR Canada. Brady Schnell holed out for eagle on his final hole Friday to shoot 59, but he came up a few shots short of Mackenzie (brother of LPGA player Paige Mackenzie), who might be remembered most for his one-handed chip shots around the green.

    Phil Mickelson shot 62 on Sunday, turning in his low round of the season. His final round included 10 birdies.

    According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the first time in Mickelson’s career in which his birdie total over the final 18 holes of an event is higher than his total over the first 54 holes.

    It also led to this tweet from Phil’s brother, Tim, who is the head men’s golf coach at Arizona State.


    ONE REASON TO BE EXCITED ABOUT THIS WEEK…

    This quote from Rory McIlroy:

    “I feel like the run of golf courses we've got coming up are going to suit me.  I haven't seen Valhalla, but from what I heard, you need to hit it pretty long and drive the ball well.”

    That shouldn’t be an issue.

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