LOUISVILLE (USA TODAY) – The Boy Wonder is indeed the Man.
With effortless power he can launch missiles with his driver 350 yards – on a string. His iron play is spot on. His short game, whether with a wedge around the green or a putter on it, is notable.
His confidence is as sky high as he hits 3-irons. His controlled aggression off the tee and into the green can be overpowering. His commitment to his craft is unquestioned.
Blended together and it's not a surprise world No. 1 Rory McIlroy has won three events in his last seven starts, including his last two.
And we're not talking your member-guest at the local club. We're talking the BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour's flagship event; the British Open; and the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
Now he leads the PGA Championship at soggy Valhalla Golf Club, where he's going for two majors in a row and three wins in as many starts.
But above all his envied attributes, patience is perhaps his best quality.
Even before he turned his present age of 25, McIlroy had mastered the quality of tolerating delay. Instant satisfaction hasn't been life and death. He has long trusted his talent and the inner strength to put time on his side.
When he switched out his entire bag and ball with the well-publicized move from Titleist to Nike in January of 2013, he came close but never pulled out his then unruly hair as he struggled with the change.
As his former management team and present representation battle over millions, a fight that will reach the courtroom, McIlroy hasn't shown any stress outwardly. And earlier this season when he wasn't winning but felt his game was right at the doorstep of explosion, he kept working hard and just waited for everything to click.
On Friday he was Job.
On a morning when there was plenty of squeegee action at Valhalla – even in the media center – and the worst of the unrelenting rain was soaking the big track, McIlroy persevered and kept his poise.
He overcame an early bogey and one more on his 11th hole with four birdies and an eagle on the 18th.
With rounds of 66-67, he is now 41-under in his last 10 competitive rounds – six of those in majors.
"My patience, of course it was tested because I didn't play quite as well as I did (Thursday). I had to get up-and-down a few times. Missed a few greens. It just wasn't as stress-free as it was yesterday," McIlroy said. " … Pretty scrappy, to be honest, around the start of the front nine. Conditions obviously were a little tougher, especially on our front nine. You really needed to stay patient because the rain was coming down pretty heavily at times.
" … But you can't do anything about the conditions."
But along with Mother Nature and Valhalla, McIlroy had to tolerate playing partner Bubba Watson, whose short fuse erupted after he made birdies on his first two holes.
The reigning and two-time Masters champion complained about the wetness and his inability to grip the club. He had his caddie tee the ball up for him at one hole so he wouldn't get wet. He dropped an F-bomb after hitting an errant shot. "I can't play golf, I got nothing, I got nothing," Watson said after another poor shot.
There were no complaints from McIlroy.
"I've complained after a lot of shots before and everyone out here moans about something. It's just part of it," McIlroy said. "I don't really pay attention to my playing partners that much anyway. I could see how some people could maybe be affected by it. Look, everyone complains at some point or another.
"I've been guilty of it before and a lot of other players on the PGA Tour have done the same thing. But it didn't affect me today, no."
McIlroy was being kind.
That's another impressive quality about the young man.