Rory’s good, but he’s not Tiger … not yet, anyway

Hwy 308 reopened to traffic
June 28, 2011
John Alford Ashley
June 30, 2011
Hwy 308 reopened to traffic
June 28, 2011
John Alford Ashley
June 30, 2011

Why must sports fans be so fickle?

Like seriously, we are hands-down the most fickle group of people in the entire planet.

Memory? Oh, we’re lacking there, too – at least when it comes to long-term memory.

Either that, or this is a transcendent period in the world of sports, because it seems like headlines spew daily that inaccurately proclaim athletes to be the best-ever in their respective crafts, despite these players not having the pedigrees of success to back up such unwarranted claims.

The latest instance of this came last week when Rory McIlroy won the U.S. Open in a decisive fashion. Of course, you already know where this is going, upon victory, we collectively overreacted to the young European’s win, saying he was the next Tiger Woods, if not better.

Wait a minute, let’s rethink what we’re trying to say here.

Rory McIlroy is going to be better than who?

He’s certainly not even in Tiger Woods’ world right now and truthfully, it’s unfair to everyone involved to even make such a claim.

Let’s compare resumes, shall we?

Rory McIlroy now has ONE major championship under his belt.

That’s it, just ONE.

On the totem pole of golf history, he’s still behind the likes of John Daly, Retief Goosen and Jose Maria Olazabal.

Heck, he’s also behind Angel Cabrera and Mark O’Meara for that matter.

Sure, the one major that the kid has won came in impressive fashion.

Let me backtrack, it came in record fashion and was also impressive as heck. Rory tore Congressional a new rear end and made the course look silly. But, several players made the course look silly, too, and close to two dozen players were under par for the week.

Either way, the European sensation is only 22, which is a baby in golf years, which means he has another 20 years of solid golf ahead of him. With that, he could do plenty of damage and could figuratively be on top of the golf world for a very, very long time.

But that’s just it, there’s too many “coulds” “ifs” and “maybes” involved in this speculation.

Let’s see him win two majors, three majors or maybe even seven or eight before we compare him to Tiger.

Tiger Woods has 14 major championships and his career truly is nowhere near done, despite what those with short-term memory like to say.

How soon we forget that just two months ago, Mr. Woods was making a back-9 charge at Augusta National and was pushing to win another green jacket.

So much for being done, right?

Sure, Tiger fell short of his ultimate goal on that day, but there was no question who was playing the best golf in the tournament on that Sunday.

Where was Mr. McIlroy when Tiger was making his push?

Oh yeah, he was shooting a round in the 80s and was coming apart at the seams, squandering a four-shot lead on Sunday to finish 10-shots off of the pace.

Someone find me the last time Tiger Woods shot a round in the 80s in his life, much less with a green jacket on the line on Sunday.

This is all comparing the two’s games on the course, which truly is just half the battle.

Tiger Woods changed golf, literally.

He was the first true athlete to play the sport. He introduced weight lifting and made other players actually get in shape for a change.

How many Craig Stadler look-alikes do you see on the tour now? By Craig Stadler, I mean tall horizontally and soft and pudgy in the midsection. There used to be hundreds of them in the 1970s and 1980s – there are virtually none now, because to compete, you need to be in shape.

That, my friends, you can thank Mr. Woods for.

But most importantly, Tiger made golf relevant again. He shifted the culture of the sport and made it cool for kids of all ages and all ethnicities to play golf.

Heck, the guy has his own video game named after him.

If Rory wins three or four more majors, do you think he’ll be a cultural icon, plastered on video games, commercials and the works?

I don’t think so.

See, in the world of sports, we always do this and I can’t seem to figure out why.

Mark Pryor is the next Roger Clemens.

Albert Pujols is the next Babe Ruth.

Every dominant shooting guard in their mid-20s with a lick of athleticism and an average jump shot is the next Michael Jordan, much like every seventh-round receiver picked in the NFL Draft is the next Marques Colston.

Why can’t we just let guys be themselves for a change?

Why can’t we just let Rory McIlroy be the first Rory McIlroy?

He’s not as good as Tiger and he’s not going to fill Tiger’s shoes, folks.

I hate to disappoint you, but I’d like to see this kid play more than one solid week of golf before I compare him to the greatest player of my generation.

I know it’s summer time and I know the heat is pretty unbearable.

But spare me the Kool-Aid you all are sipping. I’m not ready to sip on that all just yet.

I learned my lesson when you all said a few weeks ago that LeBron James was the next Michael Jordan.

How’s that working out for you all now?