Sunday, March 31, 2013

No Competition

With Tiger Woods back in his rightful spot of number one in the Official World Golf Rankings, many golf fans are wondering what has happened to Rory McIlroy.  The world's next great golfer signed a fat contract with Nike in the offseason and was supposed to take over Tiger's spot as the face of golf.  Now an equipment change can always be a struggle for a golfer, and it is far too soon to claim that Rory has disappeared, but Rory will never be the next Tiger regardless of if he finds his game or not.  The proof is in the way each player goes about the game.

How many guys that were supposed to be "the next Tiger" have come and gone on the PGA Tour?  David Duval, god bless him, challenged Tiger early in his career and even took over the #1 spot in the world for a little while.  Soon enough though, he fell back to earth.  After battling Tiger down to the wire at Medinah in 1999, Sergio Garcia was destined to win many majors before he turned 30.  14 years later, we are still waiting for major number one from Sergio.  Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh have gotten hot and picked up several majors in their careers, but eventually Tiger always reigns supreme.  What makes people think Rory will somehow avoid the same fate?

Watching Rory McIlroy's struggles the past few weeks have led me to believe that he does not have the competitive fire that burns so strong inside of Tiger.  Rory continues to skip important tournaments like the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a tournament Tiger has won eight times now, in favor of watching his girlfriend play tennis and partying in Miami.  Moreover, Rory recently just announced that he will play in San Antonio next week after struggling in Houston this week.  That does not sound like someone who is committed to their routine or in control of their game.  Tiger Woods has played just about the same golf schedule every year of his career, and has his routine locked into place.  Never would he enter a tournament at the last minute to try and find his game.  Finally, and perhaps most tellingly, we saw Rory withdraw from the Honda Classic a few weeks ago, citing a toothache as the reason for leaving.  Contrast that story with Tiger Woods winning the 2008 U.S. Open in a Monday playoff on a torn ACL and a broken leg.  That should tell you everything you need to know about Rory, and about Tiger.

The future is still very bright for Rory McIlroy.  He has two major championships at the age of 23, and is obviously supremely talented.  However, Tiger Woods has seen guys like him come and go throughout his career.  Tiger lives and breathes winning golf tournaments.  It is why he gets up everyday.  If Rory McIlroy really wants to be the next Tiger Woods, he ought to take notes on how Tiger Woods does everything related to the game of golf.  Only when you commit yourself that fully to the game will you be able to truly compete with the greatest golfer that has ever lived.

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