Rory is not the 'Next Tiger'; he's completely different

By Jason SobelAugust 11, 2014, 3:29 am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Rory McIlroy is no Tiger Woods.

Hey, I know you were wondering, so I just figured I’d throw it out there before you asked.

In the wake of McIlroy’s fourth career major championship title, it’s a relevant contemplation.

At 25, he becomes the third-youngest in the modern era to reach this mark – behind only Jack Nicklaus and, you guessed it, that guy named Woods.

This has already been hailed as the Rory Era, a notion that won’t dissipate with his latest triumph. He is undeniably the current face of the game. The proverbial torch has been passed.

All of which should have 19th holes around the world buzzing with debates over whether Rory is the “Next Tiger,” a duplicate production of the game’s last dominant figure.

Well, he isn’t.

He might be better. Or he might not. Only time will reveal that answer.

But here’s what we know definitively: He’s not Tiger.

He’s completely different.

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Those three words, of course, can be taken in a lot of different contexts. They can relate to the technical part of their games, as Woods has always strived to change for the better, while McIlroy can’t comprehend such reconstruction. (“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said with a laugh.)

They can pertain to their disparate personalities, Tiger playing the role of steely-eyed assassin on the course and tight-lipped rhetorician off it, while Rory’s candor inside the ropes translates to a similar temperament elsewhere.

In this context, it refers to their long-term goals. It’s all about how they approached the game from paradoxical angles, but still wound up in similar positions at similar ages.

From the time Woods was a young child with posters of Nicklaus adorning his bedroom walls, he knew he wanted to someday become the all-time leading major championship winner. He was 10 when the Golden Bear won his 18th at Augusta National, but across the country in Cypress, Calif., he was keenly aware.

Tiger has never wavered from that goal, either. To this day, he’s never allowed for public introspection and admitted anything to the effect of, “Hey, if I only wind up second all-time, that’s cool, too.”

That’s not Rory. No, Rory grew up wanting to be the world’s best golfer, but without the tangible pursuit of hallowed records.

Just a week ago, he was asked about chasing the game’s most sacred mark.

“It's not something I ever thought about or dreamed of,” he explained. “I'd like to win my fourth and that's it, and just try and keep going like that, just one after the other. And if it adds up to whatever number it adds up to in my career, then that's great. I don't want to put that pressure on myself. I don't want to put that burden of a number to try and attain.”

You might choose not to believe him. You might think he’s simply trying to avoid more attention, trying to keep the pressure from being hoisted upon his already encumbered shoulders.

Or you might think that last week was last week and this week is this week. You might think that two majors in a row and four by the age of 25 will have McIlroy suddenly pondering the finish line and placing that specific number in his head to someday achieve.

You’d be wrong.

“I've got to take it one small step at a time,” he said Sunday night. “I think the two next realistic goals are the career grand slam and trying to become the most successful European player ever. Nick Faldo has six [majors]; Seve [Ballesteros] has five. Obviously the career Grand Slam coming up at Augusta in eight months time or whatever it is, they are the next goals. And hopefully, when I achieve those, I can start to think about other things.”

No variation of those words were ever uttered from Woods’ mouth. Nor were these, another McIlroy missive of modesty following his Valhalla victory.

“At 25 years of age, I didn't think I would be in this position.”

Let’s compare that with Woods’ thoughts following his fourth major championship, an eight-stroke conquest at St. Andrews when he was 24.

“I thought I'd be at this point faster than it took," he boasted at the time.

They are different golfers, but more significantly they are different people with different mindsets.

There are some very logical reasons for Rory to be compared with Tiger after this win – and in some ways, they’re alike. Both great talents at a young age; both capable of dominating their competitors; both able to put their games into another gear down the stretch at a major.

The colossal disparity comes in their mindsets. It comes from their long-term goals as junior golfers and how those goals never wavered.

Like the dominant force that preceded him, McIlroy has been able to take the golf world by storm at an extraordinarily young age.

But he is no Tiger Woods.

He’s completely different.

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey six on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."

Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA

By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 5:11 pm

Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.

Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.

Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.

With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

Ko told Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.

“It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”

Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.

Ko released this statement through the LPGA on Wednesday: 

"It has been my dream since I was young to play on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to testing myself against the best players on a worldwide stage. I know it is going to be tough but making a first win as an LPGA member and winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year award would be two of the biggest goals I would like to achieve next year."