June 6, 2012
Normally I don’t like to comment on pro golfers and the commentary that surronds them, but I couldn’t resist on this one. If you haven’t read Damon Hack’s open letter to Rory go ahead and give it a quick read here. I fully understand that Hack’s job is to report, find stories and generate traffic to his articles, but give me a break with this letter.
The glaring rips at Rory’s youth by calling him “bud” and “kid” are just poor taste. The guy may be young but his game and his demeanor with the media and fans should garner a lot more respect that this. Guys like Hack wonder why players are guarded around them and don’t want to open up (ahem Tiger). Just look at this situation and you will know exactly why.
Three weeks ago all of the articles about Rory were praising his consistency, his poise, his new-found confidence due to his new girlfriend. Now that he has hit a rough patch he has lost his commitment to golf, his consistency and the maturity he has been so praised for. There is a reason Luke and Rory have been trading the world #1 spot for so long. They both play well and they play well a lot. Donald missed cuts this year, he struggled at the beginning of this year until he got back in the groove.
Hack continues his golden advice letter by claiming that Rory isn’t practicing enough. I’m not going to vouch for Rory’s practice schedule because I don’t know what it is and I would venture a guess that Damon Hack doesn’t know what it is either. It wasn’t that long ago that these same writers were scrambling around looking for someone to take over Tiger’s throne since he had completely lost his game. Now guys like Hack are hell-bent on proving that no one can take Tiger’s throne because he is “back” and Rory is just a young kid again.
Stuff like this makes me think these guys have no idea what kind of sport golf really is. It ebbs and flows, it’s about peaks and valleys, it’s about riding the highs and surviving the lows. No one knows this better than Tiger and I would even argue Rory. For the majority of Rory’s career he had under achieved since he hadn’t won with his god given swing. Now that he has won he has also under achieved again after three poor weeks. Give me a break. Rory is going to turn it around and the same group of writers will jump back on his fan base and praise him like nothing happened. If you don’t believe me, go read all the pieces that Rick Reilly has written about Tiger over the past two years. One week he loves him the next he can’t stand him. It is maddening.
The bottom line is that I firmly believe Rory will find his game and find it quickly. He will contend in more majors than he will miss the cut and he will win on the PGA Tour again this year. I also don’t believe Tiger is “back” and I don’t think he will ever be back to the old Tiger. He is a new Tiger and he is still darn good. I can’t wait to see how they all play in San Fran and over the next year. If it is Rory that comes out on top I can’t wait to see the Hack job letter Damon will have for us then. My guess is he won’t have one or have the guts to issue an apology letter.
December 5, 2011
I will go ahead and say that this weekend got me FIRED up for next year on the PGA tour. Why? Because Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods all won and will all be headlining the PGA tour next season. I know they will throw in Luke Donald, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Bill Haas, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson and a few others as a marketing ploy, but I am calling it right now that these three will be the story of next year.
I am not the biggest Tiger fan in the world and I will be the first to admit that I never believe any of the rumors that he is back. I truly believe that Tiger will never dominate the PGA Tour like he did earlier in his career. That doesn’t mean I dont’ think he will win and win majors. I think he will win next year and I am not sure if a major is realistic or not. With that being said, you can’t deny the electricity he creates. I know that he won the Chevron this weekend and not the Masters, but it felt like I was watching a major for the last two holes. He has the IT factor and there is no denying it.
The reason I say he won’t dominate is because too many young guys have grown up on the tour in his absence. They never experienced the aura of the dominant Tiger and they won’t be quick to back down when he is in contention. Rory showed us all that he has mental toughness after absolutely embarrassing himself on the back nine at the Masters only to freakishly win the U.S. Open. Westwood has been through a rebuilding of his game and has a huge chip on his shoulder of never winning a major. He will get one eventually. These are the guys who are going to challenge Tiger now that he is “back” even though I still don’t think he will ever be the Tiger of old.
I really think this next year on the PGA tour is going to produce some memorable golf. Just like this year brought a bunch of first time winners to the winner’s circle, next year is going to generate some genuine rivalries and match ups that hopefully last all of us viewers a large chunk of time. I, for one, can’t wait for it to get here and start all over again.
July 12, 2011
I have been reading a lot of conflicting predictions for the upcoming Open this week. I have heard that Royal St. George will produce a Dark Horse winner that no one expects, but I have also heard that it is a course where the best tend to win. I have no idea which it will be, but I hope it is the scenario where the best wins.
Last week we saw the field absolutely demolish the Scottish Open due to non-existent winds and a soft course. I don’t think the Open will be nearly as soft, and you never know with the wind. If anything at all can be taken away from the Scottish Open it is that the top players in the world are playing well right now. Donald, Westwood, Kuchar and McDowell (for three rounds) all played great golf last week. Phil played decent but not great.
I think there are a few potentially explosive story lines going into next week that are a real possibility. The first I could see playing out is a Northern Ireland heavy leader board. I could very easily see McDowell and McIlroy high up on the leaderboard battling it out for the championship over the weekend. Wouldn’t that be something to see the past two U.S. Open Champions slugging it out at the British Open for their second major? I for one would be glued to the T.V. and really do believe this is a strong possibility.
The second story line is similar to the first but it involves two Englishmen instead of Irishmen. It is a very real possibility that we will see both Donald and Westwood high up on the leader board during this championship. Donald is fresh off his win last week and Westwood has been playing good golf pretty much all year. He always finds a way to play well in Major championships and it really feels like it is his time. He can’t go his whole career without winning a major, can he? A Donald vs. Westwood showdown would be fantastic in its own right, but the fact that it would be a rematch from when Luke snatched the world #1 ranking from Westwood at the BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth would make it that much more exciting. I can’t decide which is more likely, Donald vs. Westwood or McDowell vs. McIlroy, but both would be fantastic.
The last story line I would love to see play out this weekend is pretty much any American making a run at the Claret Jug. Do I think they will? Not really, but I think Matt Kuchar is our best shot. Watney may get hot and get in the mix but I don’t see it happening. Kuchar was playing in the Scottish Open last week and played very well. He is Mr. Consistent and seems like the kind of player who will win a major in his career. Why not now?
The biggest dark horse American player I can think of who has a decent shot is Steve Marino. I know he hasn’t wo on Tour but he has a good resume on links courses and is a relentless grinder. You need to be able to handle bad breaks and Marino has tasted bad breaks this year, but keeps chugging along.
At the end of the day I am still going to go with pretty much everyone’s favorite pick thus far. I think Rory is going to be lifting the Claret Jug come Thursday.
June 23, 2011
The Rory media bomb continues to dominate the headlines of the golf world and for good reason. I think it is great that he is getting recognition for his amazing performance, but if I could tell the golf world one thing I would say, “be careful to tag him as the next great hope to beat Jack’s record.” Does he have the potential? Of course he does, but why not let him win his next major or his next 6 for that matter before that discussion is in any way relevant or realistic.
Throughout all of the coverage of Rory’s big win last week the media has been quick to say Rory is the new Tiger and Rory will break Jack’s record and Rory’s swing is perfect! They got one thing right in all of this. His swing is perfect and more importantly his swing is perfect for Rory. His swing really is amazing. It is athletic, aggressive and precise. As I say this, I know where this is going. When Tiger came on the scene everyone started to try to swing like Tiger. It is great to try to emulate great players and pick up good habits from them, but does Tiger’s swing really fit you as a player? I will bet it doesn’t.
The point I am getting at is that the coverage of Rory’s swing has missed one thing and Brandel Chamblee got it exactly right in his recent article on Golf.com. You should check it out HERE. Chamblee is 100% right that Rory’s swing is so perfect because it is built on fundamentals and not constructed by trying to be overly technical. The point Chamblee is making is that your swing can be as unique as you want it to be as long as your fundamentals are solid. Look at Jim Furyk’s swing. It looks funky in full motion, but his stance, posture, balance, grip/grip pressure are all fundamentally solid. And guess what? He is a major champion.
It is refreshing to see a member of the Golf media take a step back from the rest of the media buzz and pull out a story that has serious value. Was Rory’s win amazing? Yes it was. Will he be the next Tiger Woods? Who knows? But as a golfer myself I don’t want to hear instructors tell me to swing like Tiger or like Rory. I want to hear tangible feedback about how to build a golf swing that works for me. Essentially this is what Rory and Tiger both did when they were younger. Obviously they both cultivated their swings into works of art, but the take away from Chamblee’s piece, for me, was to understand the fundamentals of the golf swing and stick to them. The rest of the swing will hash itself out. Rory doesn’t have a perfect swing because he has calculated his spine angle and shaft angle to the nth degree on countless launch monitors. No, he has a perfect swing because he has perfect fundamentals.
Like I said before, Chamblee gets it…Plain and Simple!
June 20, 2011
I spent some time today reading all of the wrap us from the U.S. Open. It is overwhelming how many comparisons came out between Rory and Tiger. I can’t say that I disagree with all of them, but I don’t want to brand him the “new” Tiger after one major win. I think he will win plenty more and be around for quite some time, but you never know. Golf is a funny game.
Even more surprising, to me, was the amount of people finally accepting the fact that the new younger crop of players are getting really really good. Jason Day hit his ball everywhere but the fairway on Sunday and managed to take home a solo second place. I feel confident saying that Day will figure out his driver and put together a heck of a career. He is talented beyond belief and he doesn’t get frazzled. No matter where he was on the course he was focused on his next shot. It was very impressive. It actually reminded me a lot of watching Phil play. His tee shots can get wayward, but you know he has some magic in his game that will get him to the green and in the hole safely.
The reason this surprised me so much was because outside of Rory, Chappel and Day there weren’t a ton of young guns playing that great at the Open. Let me re-phrase that; besides Chappel there weren’t any young American players playing well in the open. Davis Love III tied for 11th for crying out loud. Dustin Johnson was the only notable young American player on anywhere near the leader board and he finished T23 along with Gary Woodland and Bill Haas. Webb Simpson finished T14, but I don’t think we can consider him our next great hope for American golf.
Where was Mahan, Fowler, Bubba, Kim and Watney? Bubba was the only one to make the cut and he finished at +9 for the tournament. The rest of the contenders in the Open were older veteran American players and Europeans. Other that Rory and Day can we really sit back yet and say the younger players have taken over? I don’t think we can just yet, but Rory’s win certainly makes me feel confident that we will be able to say that with unwavering confidence very soon.
June 17, 2011
I am officially on the Rory band wagon for the US open. Part of me feels bad saying that because I feel inclined to root for an American player in the US Open, but I honestly think it is Rory’s time. I picked Kuchar earlier this week as my fantasy pick and he played well today to put himself in the mix, but I can’t imagine Rory giving another one away. Especially since he has played so well. He looks like the best player in the world right now.
I know everyone is expecting Rory to blow up over the weekend and give this tournament away, but I don’t see how that is possible again. If it happens again it will be one of the most heartbreaking stories in recent golf history. If he does win would it signify a new anti Tiger era? Would this finally be the time that the young guns start taking over? I don’t know why I feel so confident about this but I really think Rory will bring this one home in Tiger like fashion and the younger era of the PGA Tour will officially begin.
I can’t tell if I want this to happen more for people to start talking about other players besides Tiger or because I want Rory to redeem himself for his Augusta melt down. I think it is more that I want to see him redeem himself. How cool would that be if he came back in the very next major and got the job done? I don’t know what else to say except Go Rory!
June 16, 2011
I keep going back and forth on what is the bigger story of this US open. Is it Rory winning or Rory blowing another major. The odds have to be against him to lose his lead over the next three rounds. Honestly, I would love to see him bring home a major and validate all of his talent.
Prior to the open the storyline consisted of “would Phil finally win one” and “would Watney, Johnson or McIlroy validate their past screw ups with a win?”. Well Rory put himself right back in the spotlight. I’m rooting for him but I think the golf media would rather see him lose his lead rather than hold on to it and become a serious name in the game.
The golf media has largely written off the young talent in the game because they don’t think Tigers shoes will ever be filled. I will say right now that the majority of golf analysts will side on the side of Rory blowing his lead rather than keeping it just because they miss Tiger. They miss the days of writing about how amazing he was. I for one am rooting for Rory to bring it home and officially usher in the new generation of golf post Tiger.
April 11, 2011
On Sunday, the Master’s proved once again that it is the most entertaining golf tournament in the world. The tournament had twists and turns, old faces as well as new faces and more people in contention than patrons. I haven’t looked at any of the leader board changes this morning to see how many players were tied for the lead, lead changes etc. and I don’t plan on it. I enjoyed the tournament finale so much that I want to let it sink in and just enjoy it for what it was. I don’t want to dig into the nuts and bolts just yet.
I think a big congratulation’s is in store for Charl Schwartzel for an unbelievable win. The way he finished off the tournament in the facing of surging super stars was truly deserving of the green jacket and all the praise that will surely follow his major victory. Four birdies in the last four holes is out of this world. The guy was in the zone and it was clear he wanted it bad.
As great as Charl’s performance was Rory’s was equally shocking. I can’t write about the finish of the tournament with out talking about Rory. His final round 80 will go down in golf history. It will be talked about along with his British Open collapse, Dustin Johnson’s U.S. Open collapse and Van de Le’s melt down. There is no denying the fact that it was painful to watch. I truly felt bad for Rory because it so clear how talented he is. It was evident that the pressure simply overtook him. You could see it in his mannerisms and facial expression after his shot on 13 that he was a gonner and didn’t want to be on the golf course any more. He still finished tied for fifteenth, which is very respectable for a 21 year old, but he gave the tournament away and knows it.
I don’t doubt that he will get another shot and will do much better. With Rory losing in that fashion, the pain will most likely build his character and will hopefully spur him on to some hard work that will get him over the hump next time. I just can’t imagine that that was Rory’s only shot in his career. He is far too talented.
It was great to see Tiger, KJ, Westwood, Cabrera and Stricker up in the Top 20 of the tourney, but how about Adam Scott, Jason Day, Justin Rose and Luke Donald all making a splash this year? All of these young guys have had their name thrown in the mix of great young talents, but have not really produced great major performances. Granted Rose and Donald and older, but they both played well in a major which bodes well for future tournaments. Jason Day will win a major in my opinion. He plays the game aggressively, but with poise much more mature than his age.
My last comment about the tournament is in regards to Geoff Ogilvy’s post round interview. He took the time to make a comment that he is really excited for his good friend Adam Scott for playing so well and giving himself a chance to win. Although Geoff’s name is hard to spell I am pretty sure you could spell it C-L-A-S-S and people would get it. In comparison to Tiger’s interview where he is callous, cold and just comes off as a jerk it was refreshing. This is just another reason golf is like no other sport in the world.