Countdown to Rory: Only 9 More Waiting Days Left, and other Monday Thoughts

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.

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14 Responses to Countdown to Rory: Only 9 More Waiting Days Left, and other Monday Thoughts

  1. Sports-realist says:

    Notah’s job security depends on his ‘Woods phone calls’….Once Woods is gone, the golf channel will drop Notah like yesterday’s newspaper…….Fortunately for the golfchannel and Kyle, Woods is too arrogant to stay away…Woods will keep coming back, and keep withdrawing, and the golf channel will treat EACH time as the 2nd coming….

    • lannyh says:

      Yeah, as I listened to Notah, I wondered if his own concerns for job security had anything to do with his view, haha.

      I’m in the process of throwing a couple of things together about ratings. Nothing earth-shattering, but I found it interesting that year-to-year ratings were down in 2013, Woods’s big 5-win season. As well, Woods’s ratings peaked around 2000 and were in steady decline ever before Thanksgiving, 2009. Might explain why GC pushes the idea that you must either “love him or hate him.”

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, Rory drives the ball great. But, the name of the game is getting the ball in the hole. So while Rory’s 4 majors and 9 career wins are nice, Tiger’s 5 majors and roughly 30 wins (by 25 years of age) is slightly more impressive. And quite frankly, I’m sure I’m in the minority, but 79 and 14 is more impressive than 73 and 18. Using that same logic, Snead’s 82 is still the best.

    • lannyh says:

      Yeah, well, we obviously now know Woods’s career was front-loaded. Rory should be playing well until age 50.
      I thought golf was all about the majors. No? Has that changed since Woods stalled? I guess we’ll have to start counting the Cincinnati Tennis Open the same as Wimbledon.
      I also like that Rory hasn’t been linked to Galea or Bosch, nor BALCO nor Biogenesis. That counts for a lot in my book. I don’t consider Woods in golf’s top fifteen, really.

      • Anonymous says:

        For some it’s all about the majors, and majors are nice. For me? Just win (any event) baby!

        As far as the PED’s go, look at Andy Pettite. Flat out admitted to using PED’s to help heal from an injury more quickly and now he’s seemingly getting a free pass. Again, I may be in the minority but using a substance, legal or not, to heal faster is way different than using it to get an advantage on a regular basis.

        Given the timing of the Galea stuff, 2008-2009, it’s not out of the question that Tiger’s use was related to healing faster instead of an every day advantage. I will reserve judgment until confirmation of use and the scope of the use is made public.

    • Sports-realist says:

      Ask any pro golfer which is more impressive, and they will say THE MAJORS…Also, you have to breakdown the regular season wins….Lanny has also done this, and showed that 18 of Woods wins were by LIMITED FIELD events…Those type of events, hardly existed when Jack played, so I’d say they are similarities, but 4 more majors is DEFINTELY more impressive than winning the ‘bla, bla open’ somewhere, where the majority of the field isn’t in the top 50……

      • Sports-realist says:

        The ‘heal faster’ argument by these athletes is the NEW smoke screen, if you haven’t noticed….We’ve seen enough athletes like Raphael Palmiero, Mark Mcqwire, Alex Rodriquex, Roger clemens, Andy Pettite, Tiger Woods, ect out right lie about HOW or WHY they used steroids/ped’s….It’s usually for some OTHER nebulous reason, other than PERFORMANCE(which I’m sure is the MAIN reason they took the stuff)……They HAVE to downplay how they used the ped’s to protect their FAKE image, which they’ve actually bought into themselves….

      • lannyh says:

        Yes, and “heal faster” in golf can also refer to the normal micro-tears one gets in muscles after a lengthy session on the range. PEDs help in recovery from those sessions, so you can hit hundreds or thousands of balls a day right up until you play a tournament without being worn down.

  3. Anonymous says:

    While I like your blog Lanny, You have to lay off the Rory bandwagon for awhile yet. Let’s not start talking about Jack’s Record until (or if) he passes Tiger’s 14. Also there is no doubt Rory’s level of play comes nowhere near Tiger’s at that age. Until Rory starts piling up seasons of a dozen wins per year can we start to make analogies. Kid has talent, but let it play out.

    • lannyh says:

      If Rory wins the Grand Slam this year, is it okay if I mention him once in a while? I think the world has seen enough “Tiger should go to Butch” articles without me adding to the number.

  4. BigTimeTimmyJim says:

    Lanny is following in the footsteps of the Golf Channel. Only difference is instead of All Tiger all the the time, it’s All Rory all the time.

    • lannyh says:

      How is doing a Rory Countdown — he hasn’t played a PGA event in five months — equivalent to showing every Woods shot when he is ten back of the lead?

      • BigTimeTimmyJim says:

        You answered your own question. Tiger not playing yet it’s all about him. Rory not playing yet it’s all about him.

  5. Anonymous says:

    BigTimeTimmyJim -Perfectly said.

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