Howdy, internet. I'm back. Deal with it!
Ok, I had done some blogging a few years ago, mostly for the reasons listed on the side of this blog, but at some point stopped keeping up with it, possibly because most of the time, it was read by literally one person. And that one person was literally me. Not that that should matter if I look at this as more of a journal to look back on when I'm older, but you know how it goes. If your blog isn't making you wealthy and famous beyond your wildest dreams and getting you preferred seating at Chili's, is it even worth it?
Anyway, welcome to my new blog. I'd like to think I will keep up with this.
So, let's talk golf. Yesterday concluded a historic (or "an" historic, if you're snooty) week of golf for Rory McIlroy, a week in which he set or tied 12 U.S. Open records and officially became the guy who the media will swear is the next Tiger Woods, at least until that 18-year-old Italian kid (Matteo Manassero) wins a PGA event next year.
Personally, I don't think this quite compares to Tiger's 15 shot victory in 2000, for a few reasons. One, this U.S. Open course played very easy compared to most. A lot of rain during the week and a lot of heat the week prior left the rough manageable and the greens soft. 20-odd players finished under par this week, which is as many as the last ten years of U.S. Opens combined. The course was very tame, which means that really what Rory accomplished was that he played the best, most consistent golf (by far), whereas when Tiger won, he was way under par (12, to be exact) on a week when second best was three over. So not only is Tiger's 15 shot margin obviously superior to McIlroy's eight, the fact that Tiger not only subdued but dominated a course that no one else broke par on is far more impressive than winning by several strokes on an uncharacteristically easy course. People went low every day this year at Congressional. At Pebble in 2000, Tiger shot the lowest round on the course all four days. That is an insane stat that may never be equaled.
All that said, yes, Rory is undoubtedly the closest thing we have to the "next" Tiger. However, much like there really is no "next" Michael Jordan, there is no "next" Tiger. MJ and Tiger both transformed the games they play(ed) and in my humble opinion, even if more talented players emerge, no one will ever be able to impact the games the way those did. The media needs to stop trying to give these "next" titles. How many "next" Michael Jordans have we had? And none of them have even come close to what he did! The closest thing we've had, and I can't believe people argue this, is Kobe Bryant. He has had an amazing, unbelievable career, yet try this on for size:
Michael Jordan's career scoring average (playoffs): 33.4
Kobe Bryant's career scoring average (playoffs): 25.0
And there are plenty of other stats that are just as telling. Point being, he's not MJ. And Rory isn't Tiger. He certainly has a chance to be the face of the new generation of golfers though. I think he is bar none the most talented golfer, tee to green, in the game right now. His short game probably isn't like Tiger's and Phil's, but in all honesty, he didn't even need a short game this week. It's easy to look at the stats (he led the field in putting) and say that he won because his putter was hot. But that wasn't the case. He led the field in putting because he had far and away the best ball-striking week of anyone out there. For the most part, it was fairway, green, putt. And his approaches were often very close, which is what helped his putting. Not to say he didn't hole out a few impressive par-saving putts, but my point is that he won this tournament with ball striking. And he certainly slammed the door shut on any lingering memories of his Masters collapse. I think he's ready to start dominating and after seeing what he's done now at 3 different majors (let's not forget his 63 in the British Open last year, the lowest round ever shot in a major), I'd be pretty shocked if he doesn't end up winning 5-10 majors, and you'd have to say he has a shot at even more.
It was fun to watch. Thanks to Al Gore's glorious internet, I was able to watch every shot while I worked on Thursday and Friday and then watch almost every shot on the weekend. It really was something else. A truly historic performance.