AskLav: Why the rush to judgment about Rory?


One of several apocalyptic comments this week:

A complete equipment overhaul (to Nike, no less!) … for $200 million … but still … at age 23 … after two majors … is he nuts?

Perhaps he is, which could help explain why six-time major winner Nick Faldo was so adamant – both here and here – that Rory McIlroy was making a grave mistake.

No doubt, The Decision in which Rory may take his talents not to South Beach but rather Beaverton, Ore., will be examined and then re-examined some more, especially if – hold your breath – the Northern Irishman endures another months-long swoon, as he did in summer 2012.

But how can this already be deemed a mistake? Can we really bash a guy who hasn’t even struck a competitive shot with the swooshes?

Based on a few comments this week, you’d have thought Rory ditched Titleist after recently strolling into Golf Galaxy and spotting a shiny new set of irons on the rack. No proper testing. No consultation. No conviction. Nothing.

Rest assured, no equipment decision this significant is made impulsively.

So there’s no need, then, to be so hasty with our judgments.

Here are this week’s mailbag questions:

#AskLav If Rory signs with Nike, how do you think Nike will market him? And how does this affect Tiger's relationship with Nike?

Remember that Duel at Jinsha Lake? Fun, wasn’t it? Just Tiger and Rory, Rory and Tiger, pals and rivals, chumming around for 18 holes in a made-for-TV (or Internet), pay-per-view event that doled out $3 million in appearance fees. Expect to see a few more of those shindigs in the future. 

Marketing the two players together will be a fascinating case study, too, if only because of their divergent personalities. On the course, Tiger is intense and conditioned to step on his opponent’s neck, while Rory smiles and melodically makes his way around the course and before you know it, well, damn, he won by eight again. How will that dichotomy play in a 30-second spot?

@RyanLavnerGC is there any real possibility of someone other than David Toms as next American Ryder Cup Captain #AskLav

Of course there is a groundswell of support for hard-luck Larry Nelson, who was passed over for the captaincy in the 1990s, and the revered Paul Azinger, who was so successful in 2008, but this appears to be David Toms’ job. He’s 45. He’s a major winner (a PGA!). He has played on three Ryder Cup teams. This is a slam-dunk – or at least an uphill 2-footer with no break.

Everyone wants to know, @RyanLavnerGC What are you going to be for Halloween? #AskLav

Well, I wanted to be Rickie Fowler, but his all-orange outfit apparently is in hot demand this time of year. I wanted to be video-goofball Ben Crane, but needed to walk around the block in less than two hours. I wanted to be Jungle Bird, but couldn’t afford to get that intoxicated and still make it to work the next day.

So, instead, this year I went as the Allstate ‘mayhem’ guy, with the dirty clothing, the disheveled hair and the appetite for destruction. Think it turned out well, right?

Sorry to hear that even Hulk can be slowed by a hurricane. My initial reaction was that Hulk should take his mind off the destruction and do what he always does – smash stuff! – but that seems counterproductive at this point.

D.J. Piehowski@RyanLavnerGC Who are you voting for? I'll just vote for the same person as you. #AskLav

Finally! I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to express my political views. After watching the heated debates and analyzing the media reports and, most importantly, compiling all of my friends’ passionate Twitter and Facebook posts, it’s clear that this year I am voting for … oh, no, sorry, apparently I’ve just reached my word-count limit.