“In all places, and seemingly at all times, McIlroy is never anything other than himself. Class and authenticity are two of the rarest commodities in sport, and he has both in spades.“
— Alan Shipnuck, Golf writer for Sports Illustrated, in his 2014 nomination of Rory for SI Sportsman of the Year.
Tiger vs. Rory, a dose of reality: Ewen Murray, golf columnist for Sky Sports, wrote these words:
Let’s be honest here, Tiger has never been a great driver of the ball. Even in his prime, he didn’t come close to matching Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson or Rory McIlroy off the tee.
Anyone who follows golf knows that’s true. However, the Great American Tiger Woods Propaganda Machine is appalled by such simple statements of fact.
Here’s Michael Bamberger in a recent SI Golf Tour Confidential:
There is not one aspect of Rory’s amazing game that is superior to Tiger’s in his prime.
According to Bamberger, Rory, who will likely wind up with more majors than Woods, who may one day equal Jack’s major record, and who has just won two majors in a row, does not possess even one aspect of a golf game which is superior to Woods when he was at his best? Bamberger sounds like a four-year-old saying his daddy can beat up your daddy, or a Justin Bieber fan club member describing his idol. Bamberger, often quite good, really embarrassed himself with that one. Or maybe it’s me who embarrassed myself — by praising Bamberger in the past.
OWGR: Not a single change this week in the top twenty. The Only Golfer Who Matters has fallen to #66, which puts him out of the Match Play.
Speaking of Tiger Woods: Question: What tournament is the most critical to Tiger Woods this year? Answer: The Quicken Loans Invitational. Quicken Loans last year committed a lot of money for a multi-year sponsorship of that event. Finding a sponsor was not easy for Woods, so he damn well better find a way to limp around the course come August 2.
Notah on Tiki and Tierney: I got a tip that Tiki and Tierney discussed Woods and Dr. Galea on a recent show. I couldn’t locate that one, but I wound up listening to the Notah Begay interview. This comment of Notah’s, in response to a question about whether some golf analysts were actually enjoying Woods’s demise, was worthy of note:
Anybody that makes money off this industry is not very smart if they’re enjoying this and they want to see it continue to progress in the same direction it’s progressing because there’s some dire economic ramifications down the road for this game if he doesn’t get another five or six years out. I mean, our television contract with the pga tour is coming up for renegotiation soon.
Hold on. I’m confused.
Whose side is Notah on? Does he want Golf Channel to pay more for TV rights? The demise of Woods should be a nice bargaining chip for Golf Channel. It might also be beneficial if NBC concerned themselves more with improving the quality of their broadcasts and less with prolonging the asinine Tiger Woods Reality Show offal they currently produce.
Suggestion for the golf media: Start saying this: “After all these years we spent obsessing over Woods, it is amusing that the real threat to Nicklaus’s record comes from Rory McIlroy. The golf world needs to take off our Tiger Woods blinders.”
Follow that up by running Rory video footage over and over in television promos. During broadcasts, instead of saying, “That fine shot reminds me of the shot Tiger Woods hit last century,” say, “That fine shot reminds me of the shot Rory hit last week.” For 18 years, the golf media preached that Only Tiger Matters; are they really shocked that ratings take a hit when their Only Player Who Matters doesn’t play? Get real. (This is nothing new, obviously. When Greg Norman played in an event in his day, it got higher ratings then when he didn’t. That’s the way of the world. That’s why so much money is spent on advertising right before movies open.)
Furthermore, I’m amused by the fact that Notah thinks cheering for Woods is part and parcel of his job. Can you imagine Fox or ESPN wringing their hands, on-air, over the Yankees not winning? Can you imagine them denigrating teams like Kansas City and Milwaukee when they win, saying they just don’t “move the needle”? Can you imagine them breaking away from World Series games to show lowlights of the Yankees — and do that every damn game? Can you imagine the NFL saying, “Every football fan wants the Cowboys to win. They are good for football. Dallas made the NFL what it is today, and if you make money off football, you know how damaging it is that they have not been in a Super Bowl in 20 years. And, good gosh, we have a contract renegotiation with the NFL next year!”
Tragedy and bloodshed are good for CNN’s ratings, but they don’t openly cheer for them, and tell viewers they should, too. You might not like them, but they are good for television news! The Weather Channel doesn’t openly cheer for hurricanes and blizzareds. The golf media thinks publicly worrying about their own job security is Job One.
Two From Geoff Shackelford: I just spied a couple of interesting articles at Shackelford’s website. I have just glanced at them, but will read them more carefully after I post this. One on the R&A potentially addressing the distance problem brought by new equipment, and another about the current state of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. On the latter issue, I’m ambivalent. It’s not my favorite format either, but as a once-a-year thing, I’m okay with it. Too many in golf want to force the top 50 players to play every event every week, but what they don’t realize is that that is the quickest route to total golf burnout, especially with the moneychangers extending the season to 60 weeks a year. (I’m adding weeks for the opposite-field events during majors and WGCs.)
Channeling Kyle Porter: LOOK: Terez Owens has a pretty awesome photo of Tiger and Lindsey shopping. #TourSauce
Rory, Story, Etc.: Here’s a video to give a feel for just how highly anticipated is Rory’s impending return to PGA Tour action.