Damon Hack - September 11, 2012

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He has always believed even when things were really not going well that Tiger Woods has been the best player in the world since 1997. Even when he lost the top spot to others or when he dealt with injuries, Hack believed that Tiger was the best player in the world until last Sunday. Watching what Rory McIlroy is doing in the world of golf including winning in three of his last four starts in big events including the PGA Championship has convinced him that right now, Rory is truly the best player in  the world.

While Tiger will continue to win for years to come, Hack doubts that Tiger will win at the rate that he used to and while he will likely continue to contend in Majors, it will become harder and harder for him to add to his total of 14 Major wins. Woods and McIlroy have seemed to become friends and Hack never expected Tiger to do anything like this as long as he was competing. It is clear that Tiger has a great amount of respect for Rory McIlroy and it is possible that he understands and appreciates what Rory can offer the game of golf for the long term future. It is also possible that Tiger is learning new things from the 23-year-old McIlroy.

In response to comments that he made in an interview about representing Great Britain or Ireland in the Olympics, Rory McIlroy released an open letter on Twitter in an effort to clarify his comments and his positions on the issue which included an insistence that he will not make a decision anytime soon. Because of the past issues in Northern Ireland between the Protestants and the Catholics, anything that McIlroy says will upset someone and it shows great maturity to try to explain his feelings on a complicated issue in a public and thoughtful way.

When asked what he remembers most about the 1999 Ryder Cup, he remembers Johnny Miller saying that Justin Leonard should have stayed home on Sunday because he had struggled in the Ryder Cup on Friday and Saturday and he also remembers Ben Crenshaw’s belief in fate before the comeback win on Sunday. Hack does not believe that Leonard’s celebration when he made the putt to clinch the Ryder Cup for the U.S. was not meant to hurt the European team. Instead, it was an expression of raw emotion and both teams experience and express those feelings during the Ryder Cup.