I wasn’t the only one to pick up a certain vibe from Rory’s answer yesterday to the question about Jack and Tiger. The USA Today also noticed something (“Rory McIlroy is sick of being compared with Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus“):
It must get annoying for Rory because every time he does anything notable, it’s immediately couched in a world where Tiger and Jack are king.
It’s a little odd because the headline makes a definitive statement, but the article sounds like speculation. Still, I picked up the same vibe.
The thing is, the tone of these questions — and of this article, actually — is that Rory can’t possibly hope to have a legacy the equal of Woods’s (because, let’s face it, it’s not Jack’s legacy they are fighting tooth-and-nail to maintain). But Rory may yet pass Jack’s major mark. So, too, might Jordan Spieth. And either of those two might one day win the “impossible” — the Grand Slam.
Rory and Jordan are too polite and modest to say, “Hey, I won as a teenager. Neither Jack nor Woods did that. Why don’t you start emphasizing the things that I did earlier or better?” We’ve all seen the Tiger Woods Shuffle. Only majors matter and Tiger will win 30. Then, Woods was most dominant for short period. Then, Woods made 142 cuts in a row.
We all know the game. Try to keep Woods relevant. But the fact is: Woods failed. His repeatedly-stated goal was to get to 19 majors. That’s all we heard about for 15 years. Now that Rory is the favorite to do that, not Woods, the golf media pretends Jack’s major mark is no longer any big deal.
Rory must know the media won’t end the “Isn’t Tiger Wonderful?” game until he stops playing. With Woods under the Nike banner, that’s a little complicated.
Not so with Jordan Spieth, who, while polite, seems pretty dismissive of the Tiger Woods mythos created by the media. Going 6-0-1 against the media’s sui generis uber golfer has a way of coloring one’s view on the matter.
Addendum: Here’s a second USA Today article on the same matter:
Rory McIlroy ought to invest in a set of earplugs if he’s tired of hearing himself compared to Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
Addendum II: You will not want to miss this article from the Scotsman:
After dominating for so long, Tiger is finding it tough to be yesterday’s man.
But to then come out on Sunday with a statement confirming that he’d split up with Lindsey Vonn, the Olympic skier, proved once and for all that Woods is one of those horrible “look-at-me” individuals that can’t seem to swallow the thought of anyone else being in the limelight.