by Jeff Skinner
With his second major championship at such a young age Rory McIlroy has entered some rarified air. He’s faster to two majors than Tiger Woods and dominated them both in classic Woods style. But we do a disservice to Rory with these comparisons to Tiger.
I am as guilty as the rest with my comparisons and quick to call him the Next Tiger. But I learned my lesson and we all should realize that while it’s fun to compare it’s not right hold anyone to the Tiger Woods standard.
Tiger’s run of fourteen majors and his 2000-2001 are once in a lifetime numbers. No one had put numbers like that up in the history of golf and that includes the man they’re all chasing Jack Nicklaus.
We most likely won’t see a Tiger Slam run like that for a long time. Tiger will never be back in that form and I guess that Rory won’t either.
Tiger and Rory do have much in common on the course. When Rory’s game is on, no one can touch him. That was exactly the way it was for Woods when he dominated.
But Tiger played the game like he had his hands around the game’s throat and he would squeeze everything out of it he could. Golf is the end all for Tiger. It wasn’t good enough to just win, he had to win by record numbers and step on the throats of his opponents.
Rory is a horse of a different color. I saw more smiles on McIlroy’s face during the PGA’s final round then in all of Tiger’s majors combined. He says he doesn’t care if he wins by one or by eight as long as it’s a win.
The best thing that ever happened to McIlroy was his meltdown at the 2011 Masters. We all have to learn life lessons and he got his “golf life lesson” earlier than most and in the biggest way possible. A defeat like that could have destroyed a young man but much to McIlroy’s credit he took it in stride and learned from it.
His character shown through and he fought back knowing that he needed another chance, just a chance at a major. He got that chance at the 2011 U.S Open and dominated.
When he slipped up a bit this season and his dedication to practice was questioned his character shown through again. He focused on his game both physically and mentally and the result is a record setting win at The PGA Championship.
Rory could go on and win dozens of majors, he has the skills but major championships are the most fickle beast of all. Just ask Greg Norman.
Rory said that his short game coach Dave Stockton told him just to go out there and have fun, smile and appreciate the fact that you are living your dream. Rory played just that way on Sunday. He’ll have decades to smile his way through his ups and downs and a few more major championships. He has a different attitude than his childhood idol Mr. Woods. He’s Rory and Tiger is Tiger.
Let Rory be Rory and no one will be disappointed.