Fergus Bisset: Power shift

Fergus considers McIlroy's US Open victory and what it means for the balance of power in world golf.

Rory McIlroy

That was pretty impressive wasn't it? I thought golf was supposed to be difficult. Rory's performance at Congressional was surely one of the greatest ever witnessed in a golf tournament. To demolish a course of that magnitude and a field of that quality was simply incredible. The young Northern Irishman has set all sorts of records with his peerless performance.

The focus has been on Rory's individual achievements and approximately 15 million column inches have been written about those yesterday evening and this morning. I've been thinking about them too, but I've also been considering the significance of McIlroy's win in the context of the recent power shift in world golf.

The Americans must be getting a little worried at this stage because the last five Major championships have been won by players from outside the USA. The last time five in a row were won by non-American players was in 1910 when James Braid took his fifth and final Open Championship. International players won all four of the Majors in 1994 but, in the modern era, the Americans have never suffered a Major drought on the scale of the one they are currently in the middle of.

John McDermott was the first native-born American to win a Major when he captured the 1911 US Open crown and, from that point on, they began to dominate. From the 1920s, players from the US took at least 20 Major titles every decade. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s more than three quarters of the Majors contested went to Americans. In total the country can boast 253 Major titles - 198 more than the next most successful country, Scotland.

But so far in the 2010s, just one Major victory has been picked up by a yank - Phil Mickelson in the 2010 Masters. They undoubtedly have plenty of players capable of winning one of the big four but, at the moment, they're just not getting the job done. Last year Dustin Johnson and Nick Watney should have won the US Open and USPGA respectively, but they blew up in their final rounds. Johnson might also have won the USPGA had it not been for misinterpreting that strange bunker/hazard local ruling.

Are the Americans suffering a similar mental block to the one European players endured through the first part of this millennium? Is it getting to a point when they just expect an international player to win and, as a result, just watch on as it happens?

It's a little early to say that yet, but the pressure is building on US golfers to deliver and, frankly, at the moment it's difficult to see how anybody is going to be able to beat Rory ever again. The Americans need Tiger back to full fitness fast. Where next? US Open: Golf Monthly Microsite

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?