One of the announcers said Rory “lost it.” Hardly.
Rory McIlroy birdied his first par-5 of the day. On his second, a long iron betrayed him. After that errant second shot, Rory — with no cursing, no loss of temper — gracefully, smoothly, almost in slow motion, airmailed the naughty club into the middle of one of Doral’s lakes.
A sacrifice to the golf gods, or perhaps a warning to the rest of the soldiers in his golf bag.
Whatever the intent, it worked. Rory birdied the next two par-5 holes.
Already, predictably, some members of the golf media are trying to compare this to the Tiger Woods meltdowns, equally predictable, that we were treated to over the past 15 years. Are they unable to distinguish between a person completely losing his self-control and a person bidding a club adieu as gracefully as any dance in Swan Lake? No hammering, slamming, kicking, or cursing. No, Rory’s was a move so beautiful I heard Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz as the club spun above the water’s peaceful surface.
Someone on Twitter wondered, “imagine the freakout had that been Tiger.” A Golf Digest associate editor replied, “People would want him kicked off the tour.”
No, if Woods had ever displayed his frustration with such grace and good-natured resignation, the video footage would have become a permanent part of Golf Central’s daily opening.
It was a 3-iron, Rory disclosed in a post-round interview. Rory described his action as “not very role-modelish.”
“Refreshing and honest and human.” “One of the reasons people like Rory McIlroy so much.” That was the response of Terry Gannon after the interview on Golf Channel.
Rory, some will try to make this into a big deal, but they have an agenda. You shouldn’t worry about them, and I know you won’t. As for the future, don’t curse and don’t lose your self-control — and I obviously don’t think you lost it today — and I won’t complain.
To those who would say of me I am being a hypocrite, I can easily set you straight. No one has been tougher on Rory for past episodes of on-course cursing. No one. Here’s the proof. And that’s hardly the only example.