Is Rory Mcilroy The Next Big Thing In Golf? Wasn’t Justin Leonard, Adam Scott, Anthony Kim and Sergio Garcia Suppose To Be As Well? What’s The Difference?

Posted: June 21, 2011 in Golf

Well it was good TV or bad TV, depending on what you like – and everybody has a different feeling and I’m not going to tell you how to feel, you feel whatever way you want to. I sat down and watched the last 90 minutes to watch Rory McIlroy – it didn’t feel like Tiger Woods to me and it shouldn’t feel like Tiger Woods and here is why

You’ve got to remember about sports – it’s all about emotional blocks. When you think of sports and superstars, think about a pyramid and that there is 10,000 blocks in a pyramid and each one is an emotional block. Yankee’s/Cubs this weekend – couldn’t take my eyes off it! Why? Because I have some many emotional connections, so many emotional blocks of the greatest franchise in baseball history, the Yankee’s, and the worst losing of all-time, the Cubs. I’ve got no blocks with Rory McIlroy!

I get about half a block when he disintegrated at the Masters and now I get this entire block when he wins! I’ve got 1 ½ blocks of emotional connection to Rory McIlroy. Folks, you gotta remember – you love what you’ve been coveting and watching, you don’t fall in love with somebody when you walk past them. You’ve fallen in love with the secretary who you’ve been walking past by for 15 years. You don’t walk into a bar and say “I’m in love”, you can be in lust but you’re not in love. There is not enough of Rory McIlroy to feel the same way we did about Tiger.

Sports fans have short memories! Do you know how big Tiger was for 15 years? We knew about Tiger at 16!! when he was winning back to back juniors. Tiger was legendary by 23! Folks, after his first 25 tour events – remember, Phil Mickelson’s 1st year, and Phil was an unbelievable all-American golfer. Phil only competed in 1 of his first 20 events – even competed…Tiger won one!!

After his first 25 tour starts – Tiger at 20 years old had 6 wins! He had 24 titles before he was 25, 34 wins in his 20’s. I mean Tiger, in his first 100 tournaments, he won every 4th tournament. Jack Nicholas – 2nd all time, a little over half that! Tiger Woods is Halley’s Comet (Halley Comet is the only short-period comet that is clearly visible to the naked eye from Earth, and thus the only naked-eye comet that might appear twice in a human lifetime) those come around rarely! Rory will NEVER be Tiger Woods – and Tiger was bigger than Golf. Tiger was a brand; it was Oprah #1 and Tiger # 2!

Rory McIlroy could be named Stewart or Samuel or Bernard …he sounds like another kid in the pub! Tiger Woods looked different, he was ripped, his physique, his style – he was the first athlete playing golf! He was a cultural phenomenon. It’s like how I say about Michael Jordan; he is so big – other players, star players, wore his gear! Derek Jeter wears Michael Jordan gear. That’s transcending sports. So there will never be another MJ – there will never be that cultural “Halley’s Comet” cause there will never be another Tiger!

Now, I think Rory is a nice kid, he’s got a likeable dad, the scores he’s posting tell me he has a chance to be better than all these young guys – but it should be noted, do you know how many young guys I’ve been lectured on through the years on who’s going to be the next great golfer? I thought it was going to be Justin Leonard…oh my bad, Adam Scott…oh my bad, Anthony Kim, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Trevor Immelman. About every 40 minutes a Golf purist tells me “that’s the next guy!” and they never are. Even Phil Mickelson – as great as he is, was more like the University of Kansas’ J-Hawk basketball team – Really good, an all-timer, but loses too much in a big spot.

Think about how good Phil Mickelson is – and he is an all time top 10 guy. In his 1st year, his first 8 tournaments, he was cut in 7 of them. He only really competed in two with one of them being the New England Classic – that’s surely one of the all time biggies! Tiger was winning the Walt Disney tourney, he was 2nd in the Texas Open, Skins game, Quad City, BC Open…tournament after tournament after tournament, and he missed the cut only once! His 1st Master’s he missed the cut…that’s because then he went 9 years without missing another cut.

So everybody is going crazy, everybody is going nuts, he’s an incredibly likeable kid, and it was fun to watch 90 minutes on the couch. But let’s slow down people!! It reminds me a little bit – we built Lebron up to be MJ, thought Lebron never said he was MJ, and then he’s not MJ and we call him a bum! We’re building up Rory to be Tiger, though he’s never said he’s Tiger – he said he’d like to play with Tiger, but he’s never been Tiger and if he doesn’t live up to it, he’ll be a bum too. He’s going to be a really good golfer – I think he’s going to be better than the Justin Lennar’s of the world, I think he is, I’m no golf expert.

But I will say this – because I think what we all really want, since we love stars and love celebrities, we say that we hate Lebron yet can’t stop watching him, we love stars, we love Favre, we love Kobe, we love these guys…we don’t love David Eckstein, we like the stars, we watch the Home Run Derby, we don’t watch the Braves/Marlins because we like big stuff and I think what we all want is Tiger to rebound and then play this “surging, fledgling star Rory McIlroy” and for them to meet in like a year at the U.S. Open, that’s what we want and frankly, Rory McIlroy yesterday sorta said he wants to compete with Tiger.

“When I was growing up I always had putts to be Tiger Woods in a Master’s or U.S. Open you know, so it would be great to be able to get into contention one day, whether it be a major or a regular event and you find the stretch for them because I’ve never had that experience before” Like I think Tiger Woods is the most colourless athlete of my generation, like seriously! I never saw Tiger as a black golfer, I always saw him as the best golfer. If you ask me 20 things about Tiger, I think “race” is 21st! It was: buff, guns, tork, swore, clutch, best-putter, unbelievable off the tee. I mean, the truth of the matter is that Tiger was a legend because Tiger was unbelievable!!! Do people seriously understand this??? In his first 25 PGA starts, as a kid, he won 6 and competed in another 15 of them!!  He could’ve won 20 – he was unbelievable.

I thought Tiger was colorless, I didn’t think that was an issue at all. You know what Tiger was? Again, let’s go back to emotion here, but you know why we love Tiger? Cause Tiger was one of the only guys in our lifetime that golfed and pumped a fist! That’s what we do, in a weird way, just like Oprah Winfrey – lives a life that does not resemble our life, but has the same emotion that we have. Tiger threw clubs, he swore, he got mad, he pumped a fist. That’s what guys do in the NBA, that’s what Tom Brady does, that’s what Brett Favre does. He gave golf like this pulse is badly needed to become really relevant in the sportsworld.

Listen, I always liked Phil Mickelson…I love Tiger! And if you ask me why I love Tiger, I think its because he was anti-golf. Golf purist didn’t like Tiger, they thought he got too much coverage, they thought he swore, they thought it was inappropriate. Tiger sometimes played like a public golf guy “hey, you don’t do that at Brightmore Country Club” But you couldn’t say anything to Tiger because he was 10 strokes better than everybody else. Tiger took it from a “gentleman’s game” to sorta “everyman’s game” he was raw, he worked out!

  1. Mike Crack says:

    I thought I commented on this before, I guess it didn’t go through. To quickly sum up what I was saying:

    People look for a new star in anything. They want to crown the next Jordan, the next Gretzky, the next Deion etc. So I guess it’s natural for people to want to crown the next big thing in golf.

    Anyway, with regard to Tiger and his marketability, I think his colour, being non-white in a sport that is non-white, played a big part in his endorsement opportunities. Also, the fact that he was an athlete in a “non-athlete’s” game, the fact that he showed emotion in a game that business deals are played over, etc. all contributed to his uniqueness and his ability to sell the game to people who otherwise wouldn’t pay attention to golf. He made golf “cool” in a sense, because he is different. It’s similar to a white rapper like Eminem in a mostly black field. He was able to reach the white suburban kids because he is white. Of course, when you are unique, it’s a lot tougher to break into your respective industry, but once you become good, being different is a gift.

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