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.

PGA Championship: Articles, videos and photos

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.

Getty Images

Watch: Koepka highlights from the Travelers

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 3:30 pm

U.S. Open hangover? Not for Brooks Koepka. The two-time national champion has carried over his form and confidence from Shinnecock Hills to TPC River Highlands.

Koepka began his round with a par at the par-4 10th and then reeled off four consecutive birdies, beginning at No. 11.

And here is the capper at the 14th

Koepka turned in 4-under 31. Here's more action from his opening nine holes.

After a par at the first, Koepka added a fifth birdie of the day at the par-4 second.

A bogey at the par-4 fourth dropped him to 4 under, but just one off the lead.

Getty Images

Lyle going through 'scary' period in cancer recovery

By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:58 pm

MELBOURNE, Australia – Jarrod Lyle's wife says the Australian golfer is struggling through a ''really scary'' period in his third battle with cancer.

Lyle, 36, underwent a bone marrow transplant last December following a recurrence of acute myeloid leukemia.

''It's been 190 days since Jarrod's stem-cell transplant and we are going through a really rough patch at the moment,'' Briony Lyle wrote on ''I'm typing this blog on his behalf because he's not able to do it. Jarrod's not able to drive, struggles to prepare any food for himself, can't read stories to the girls and is not able to offer much help at all around the house.

''He is also starting to look like a very frail, sick person.''

Briony Lyle added: ''We are both very aware of the amount of drugs and medication that has gone into Jarrod's body over the years but things are starting to get really scary at the moment. It looks as if this recovery is going to be the longest and hardest one so far.''

Lyle has twice beaten acute myeloid leukemia, in 1998 and 2012, and was able to return to play professional golf.

He made an emotional comeback to the golf course during the 2013 Australian Masters in Melbourne before using a medical exemption to play on the PGA Tour in 2015. He played four seasons on Tour, where he earned $1.875 million in 121 tournaments.

Lyle has since returned to Australia permanently to be with Briony and daughters Lusi and Jemma.

Getty Images

Vermeer wins PGA Professional; 20 make PGA Championship

By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:42 pm

SEASIDE, Calif. – Ryan Vermeer won the PGA Professional Championship on Wednesday, overcoming front-nine problems to top the 20 qualifiers for the PGA Championship.

The 40-year-old Vermeer, the director of instruction at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, Nebraska, closed with a 1-over 73 on the Bayonet Course for a two-stroke victory over Sean McCarty and Bob Sowards.

The PGA Championship is in August at Bellerive in St. Louis.

Three strokes ahead entering the day, Vermeer played the front in 4 over with a double bogey on the par-4 second and bogeys on the par-4 seventh and par-4 eighth. He rebounded with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-4 11th and also birdied the par-5 18th.

Full-field scores from the PGA Professional Championship

Vermeer finished at 5-under 283. The former University of Kansas player earned $55,000. He won the 2017 Mizuno Pro/Assistant Championship and finished ninth last year in the PGA Professional to qualify for PGA at Quail Hollow.

McCarty had a 68, and Sowards shot 69. Sowards won the 2004 title.

David Muttitt and Jason Schmuhl tied for fourth at 1 under, and 2012 and 2015 champion Matt Dobyns, Jaysen Hansen, and Johan Kok followed at even par.

Marty Jertson, Brian Smock and Ben Kern were 1 over, and Zach Johnson, Craig Hocknull, Matt Borchert and 2016 winner Rich Berberian Jr. were 2 over. Nine players tied at 3 over, with Shawn Warren, 2017 champion Omar Uresti, 2014 winner Michael Block, Craig Bowden and Danny Balin getting the last five spots at Bellerive in a playoff. Balin got the final spot, beating Brian Norman with a par on the seventh extra hole after Norman lost a ball in a tree.

Getty Images

Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

“I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”