Stage Presence

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They emerged from the desert, by way of the United Kingdom, with equal parts youthful exuberance and uncanny presence, babes making time in the World Golf Championship woods.
 
To be sure, the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship is only one week, an oddity of the competitive calendar that pulls a divergent cast into a capricious format, but to dismiss either Rory McIlroy or Oliver Wilson as one-offs is to miss the subtleties of two remarkable players.
 
If anyone doubted either players credentials, their play in the Arizona desert finished that conversation. Wilson advanced to the Sweet 16, McIlroy went one better to the Elite Eight, and both established themselves among a corps of youthful climbers that includes Japans 17-year-old phenom Ryo Ishikawa and New Zealand teen Danny Lee.
 
Its not whether or not we will see more of McIlroy and Wilson on leaderboards in the future, but it's how much of the tandem will we see regularly in the United States which begs an answer.
 
This is a dangerous business this prodigy management.
 
Send a 20-year Tour veteran across the globe to collect play-for-pay checks and he comes home with an all-world case of jet lag and an I break for Yaks T-shirt. Run a young gun raged across the four corners and one could inadvertently derail, or even destroy, a career.
 
The formula seems to be a matter of taste, and when it comes to McIlroy and Wilson, the answer seems to lie in each players personality.
 
At 19 years old, McIlroys road appears to be one blazed of his own making. The Northern Irishman recorded his first victory as a professional earlier this year at the Dubai Desert Classic and, at least for the foreseeable future, is going to make his professional bones on an international stage.
 
Theres absolutely no point in him taking out his PGA Tour card, McIlroys manager Chubby Chandler told the Irish Times last week. Suddenly he has got to play 15 tournaments. Suddenly they start dictating to you.
 
Rorys going to be young for a while yet and hes going to want to go home and have a bit of time out with his pals. The moneys not an issue. I said to him last night. For me with you theres a totally different set of rules than there is with anybody else because weve got time.
 
Which means McIlroys exposure to American galleries will likely be limited to majors, World Golf Championships and the occasional tune-up event. Instead he will probably follow Padraig Harringtons lead and play more than his European Tour minimum (12 events) and dabble on the PGA Tour when it is convenient, a true international player with a worldwide appeal.
 
The guys that try and play the two tours, it is quite tough with all the traveling back and forth over the pond. So I just have to weigh all the options, said McIlroy, who is playing this week at the Honda Classic and next week at Doral before heading home to Northern Ireland to prepare for the Masters.
 
Wilson, however, seems headed down a slightly different path.
 
The former Augusta State standout owns a home in Charlotte, N.C., and is looking for a new base in Florida. In many aspects, the Englishman also has the type of game that plays well on either side of the pond.
 
At Augusta State, Wilsons short game was so prolific he was dubbed the Magic Man, but when he turned pro he turned his focus to his full swing and his improved ballstriking was evident last week with clutch victories over Anthony Kim and K.J. Choi.
 
He has been working so hard on his swing, said Rocky Hambric, the president of Hambric Sports which represents Wilson. Improving his iron play was the most important thing coming out of college.
 
American galleries got a glimpse of Wilson, 28, during last years Ryder Cup when he and Swede Henrik Stenson stunned Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim during Day 2 foursomes play, 2 and 1, and the matches seem to have sparked him late in the year with a runner-up finish at the HSBC Champions and a tie for sixth at the Hong Kong Open.
 
The Ryder Cup gave him the confidence he could play with the best players in the world on the biggest stage, Hambric said. It really gave him a boost.
 
It seems both young stars are ready for the biggest stage. The only question is where that stage may be.