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Why Spieth's Masters triumph is good for McIlroy

After Rory McIlroy was left in the shade by Jordan Spieth at Augusta, the Irreverent View asks whether finishing behind the American was really a bad thing for the world No.1:

Move over, Rory McIlroy. Golf has a new brightest star.

Masters champion Jordan Spieth equalled Tiger Woods' Masters record of 270, shot the most birdies [28] and became the second youngest winner since Tiger Woods.

There were several excellent performances this tournament, including that of Phil Mickelson, who finished as runner-up. Mickelson said of Spieth: "He has no weaknesses. He doesn't overpower the golf course, but he plays it strategically well. I believe that Jordan simply plays all the shots properly. That's something you can't teach."

Spieth showed that over the whole of last weekend. Every aspect of his game was working in perfect concert: driving, approaches, chipping, putting - and the mental side of it. Every time he had a minor setback on Sunday, he came back with something. His pursuers were never really close.

The ascension of Spieth makes McIlroy now the second hottest property in golf - for the time being at least. And that might not be a bad thing for the Northern Irishman.

He has coped brilliantly well with the pressure of being world No.1. But there is one thing missing in Rory that his childhood hero and Nike stablemate Woods seems to have plenty of: a burning desire for power.

Clearly there's no way that Rory could have won three of the four Majors without huge amounts of mental courage and self belief. But he does not display a fanatical conviction of his own supremacy, that Woods had.

Incidentally, that is what makes Woods such a fascinating figure since his decline - like watching a god being told that there had been a mix-up, that it turns out he is a mortal after all.

In this most solitary sport, the players who can endure for the longest seem to have an attitude which gives the impression of a disregard for other people and what is going on around them. How could you put yourself through it, without?

The inability to play nicely with others is a trait common to the very best golfers, conjuring the image of the lone wolf, the self-made man, the cowboy striding alone through the Wild West of fairway and bunker. An image, at least to my mind, of several American players over the years, and that would explain a few things about the Ryder Cup. Time after time, Europe comes out on top despite being weaker man-for-man because they can play better as a team.

Rory, a humble genius from from a tight-knit community, can thrive on the camaraderie of competition in a way that Tiger never could. It was always Tiger against the rest - not just when you looked at the gap on the leaderboard but in the personal relationships he had with the men he ought to have called colleagues but sometimes seemed to look on as courtiers.

In Spieth, McIlroy has a worthy opponent and someone with whom he might have a rivalry for a decade or 15 years. In his post-round TV interview on Sunday night, Rory praised Jordan and then stopped in mid-flow "... I nearly called him a kid there - I mean, the guy ..."

And there's no doubt, it is hard to believe that Spieth is 21. He's so self-possessed. So assured. So balding. Rory said of him: "As a 21-year old he is far more mature than me than when I was 21." A frightening thought.

With the likes of Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama snapping at their heels, Rory and Jordan could be at the forefront of a new golden age of young golfers. And the rivalry can spur McIlroy on to even great heights.

"I just have to worry about myself and try to play the best that I can. I know if I do that then that No.1 position is pretty safe. Jordan's playing very well - but I know I have the capability to do the same thing."

Spieth's magnificent Masters win was great for golf. But it could also be great for Rory McIlroy.