The One-Week Rory Era: Ten minutes into this morning’s live final round coverage of the Russian Open, Golf Channel ran a promo for this week’s WGC Firestone event. They plastered Rory all over the screen, right? Uh, no. The only golfer they showed was Tiger Woods. Fifteen or twenty shots of Woods. Nobody else. Not one other golfer. A solemn voice-over tells us Woods is playing to make the FedEx playoffs. Check my math, but Rory has won three majors in the past four years, including one just last weekend, and Woods has won zero in the past six years. With a win, Rory could move back to #1 in the world. Isn’t Rory just a wee bit more of a story?
Irish Independent, Nicklaus, Rory: Best piece yet (“Bear Apparent”) on Nicklaus-Rory connection.
Stupid Writer of the Week Award: Tim Noonan, of the South China Morning Post, tells us “Tiger Woods built the golf industry putt by putt.” That’s beyond stupid. The South China Morning Post must hire guys too dumb even for ESPN. I’d like to hire Tim Noonan to write for Lanny H Golf just so I could fire him.
Runner Up: Ashley Brown shovels out yet another Tiger-made-them-rich article. “Also, since Tiger’s arrival on the tour purses have gone up by over 500 percent. Yes, that is not a typo, 500 percent. Tiger is the reason guys like Charles Howell of Augusta has made over $25 Million for his career.” As regular readers know, the money went up more in the 17 years prior to Woods than in the 17 years after Woods. But why let facts get in the way of a good false narrative?
Telecasts too long? Geoff Shackelford recently made a couple of interesting comments about golf television ratings:
I still say the telecasts are getting too long and perhaps we, the golf media, have dwelt too much on Tiger and Phil.
I understand what he’s saying about the length of the telecasts (and definitely about Woods and Mickelson); obviously, longer broadcast windows are going to dilute viewership. But I don’t think it follows that telecasts are “too long” — not unless the sole objective is to maximize peak ratings. Which is counterproductive, as the only purpose would be to silence the “golf is dying” Tiger Only crowd. And let’s be honest: those guys are going to whine until the day they leave golf and return to the NHL or NBA or whatever the hell it is they do when not diaperishly telling the world “golf sucks without Tiger.”
Good Rory Article #1: From the Lake County Record-Bee, a nice article (“McIlroy’s win signals end of Tiger Woods era“) comparing Rory McIlroy to Arnold Palmer. (Points deducted for referring to Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar as “young players.” Points added for the author predicting Woods’s demise way back in 2008. Well, he said he did; I didn’t actually verify.)
Rory has a style more like Arnie’s. He’s a prodigious driver of the golf ball, he’s a streaky putter, he’s capable of the big miss, and on occasion he’s capable of a high number. He is charming and affable, he’s friendly toward the galleries, and he’s pretty direct when it comes to queries about his broken engagement and management lawsuits. Rory is middle class, working class, and he carries himself that way. Like Palmer in his prime, Rory McIlroy is the people’s choice.
Good Rory Article #2: From the Irish Independent, another solid article on Rory. They have become THE place for reporting in the Rory Era of golf:
His willingness to be transparent made him vulnerable, yet it is the hallmark of his strength. No amount of talent in life can compensate for the absence of an easy mind.
In this respect, I suspect McIlroy is a man with little to fear. His instincts to be open about his life have served him well. Difficult days are unavoidable in everyone’s life; it’s how such days are coped with that is the issue. Some will conceal and some will share.
Concealment often creates far greater issues that the original difficulty and for a man of McIlroy’s standing, I suspect concealment would, on occasion, be a far more preferential route when these difficulties of his, of a personal and intimate nature, are being scrutinised.
Thankfully he chose the more difficult route.
Even though he has now three Majors to his name, I sense this may well be the beginning of McIlroy’s domination.
Life has brought him downs but they haven’t left scars. They have only taught him what’s important. It begins again in Valhalla in two weeks’ time when he tees it up for the PGA Championship.
For McIlroy’s competitors, the signs are ominous.
Good article from Marla Ridenour: Billed as a Bridgestone Preview, it’s really more an examination of injuries in golf. Good quotes from Jason Day, and this from Stuart Appleby:
Appleby, 43, concedes he’s had more injuries in the past four or five years than he had in the previous 20.
“Guys in their 40s need to practice smarter,” he said. “Make sure the body’s ready and maybe the mind even more.”