by G. Rennie
Rory McIlroy didn’t have his A game today at East Lake in the final round of the Tour Championship and wasn’t able to close the deal on an $11.44 Million pay day with a sweep of the Tour and Fed Ex Cups. And that’s fine by me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ m a big fan of the Irish Wonderkid and wish him well with every shot. But I’ m glad we don’t have a gang of talking heads and all the other associated media types touting Rory as the new dominator of pro golf.
The golf world has just recently wrested itself from the chains of a Tiger dominated landscape and I’m in no rush to anoint another player to take his place. Rory has had a superb run lately, with 3 wins in the last 5 events, the highlight being The PGA title last month at The Ocean Course. Yet I think we get more competitive, more interesting tournaments , week in and week out, when the outcome is wide open with any number of players having a good chance to win . In the old Tiger dominated days, he was a prohibitive favorite any time he teed it up, which eventually became a drag as Tiger mania more than dominated the press and media talk. I’ll take the brilliant, at times incomparable play that Rory often brings to the course. I just don’t want to live in a golf world that’s a one horse show. Give me some competition.
One of the factors involved in the Tour’s structuring of the playoff schedule was the wish of The Commish to avoid Sunday afternoon conflicts with the NFL throughout the fall. Well there was a bit of a clash today but the most important football game this week is the Sunday night match between the Pats and the Ravens. The early NFL feed to the northeast today was the Jets v. Dolphins. As one of the media talking heads I know put it “Two bad teams playing each other”. How in the world did the Jets win that game?
Getting back to the Tour Championship and the culmination of the FedEx Cup, kudos to Brandt Snedeker for his cool, precise play in a pressure packed cauldron. Imagine playing for 11 million bucks? I get squirrelly with a $2 Nassau. Sneds has a distinct, old fashioned pop putting stroke and a quick tempo with all his swings. He’s so fast he makes Nick Price look like the Big Easy in comparison. Our ever smiling winner wasn’t the only player in the thick of the battle sporting non-conventional form. Ryan Moore, who finished T3, probably has the lowest hands in the pro game and Jim Furyk, the leader after 36, owns one of the most distinctive moves in the game. Then we have the Bubba who seems to innovate with each swing. I get a kick out of the chief network analysts trying to predict the shape of a Watson shot from his set up. Johnny and Nick get it wrong more often than they nail it. My point is that in a world of homogenous swings, puréed through mechanical coaching that begins, it seems, in elementary school, most of the flat bellied heroes of the PGA tour have swings which seem to be carbon copies of each other. I love those that do it my own way, idiosyncratic swings… and we had plenty on display today.