The golf world is on another Tiger Woods bandwagon. Woods is injured, and if Adam Scott wins this week, he will take the number one world ranking from Tiger. Right, that’s that out of the way, you now know all you need to know. After a tweet from the Model Sports Fan herself last night, I have decided to go for a different story this week. It is one that is very refreshing and I think attention should be drawn to it.
Rory McIlroy had a very well documented slump last year. I feel the press began to enjoy publicizing his lack of form but he has started hot in 2014. He went out in front at last week’s Honda Classic, but unfortunately lost in a play-off to Russell Henley. Here’s the thing though and this is, I believe, what makes Rory McIlroy one of the best ambassadors of our great game. His reaction to the press after defeat is so gracious and humble. Here is a young man who has exponentially rocketed through the ranks of golf but hasn’t forgotten how lucky he is to have the job he does.
I was first struck by McIlroy’s well-grounded attitude after his unfortunate finish to the last nine holes of the 2011 US Masters. In this case I think Rory just started to think about the feat that he was very close to achieving, and I do not care who you are in his position most people would do the same. During these holes he looked despondent, he wanted to be anywhere but where he was and knew his demise was being beamed around the world. After the round the media were after him, they smelled blood and, one can only imagine, wanted to see tears or some sort of reaction. I was taken aback when, after being asked how he felt about his collapse, Rory said, “Look I just lost a golf tournament, far worse things happen to people all around the world everyday”.
He was 22 when he made this statement; an age that is young by any yardstick, let alone that of a professional golfer. He is now an ambassador for UNICEF among many other philanthropic pursuits.
So back to the present day. He’s now 24 and had a tough day at the office on Sunday, everyone does from time to time. He had a two-shot lead going into the final day of the tournament and didn’t come through. In some ways he is a victim of his own success, people now expect him to deliver and that’s just a testament to his skill. Yes Rory had lost but when challenged about it he said “I picked up a check for a half a million dollars this week so it’s hard to say it’s been that bad of a week.”
Could you ever imagine Tiger Woods saying such a thing? I know that to be at the pinnacle of your profession you have to be ruthless and this sounds like he didn’t mind losing. However, if you think for a second that Rory McIlroy isn’t competitive or ruthless, you are very wrong, he wouldn’t be where he is if he wasn’t. The difference here is that he is able to see how lucky he is to be making history and a living out of his favourite sport. For that Rory should be saluted. Hats off to him!
Photo Credit: independent.co.uk