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McIlroy becomes cream of the crop

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Iain Carter | 08:25 UK time, Tuesday, 1 November 2011

For years Colin Montgomerie would satisfy the headline writers either with success on the golf course or his talkative ways off it.

"What will we do without him?" was an often recited question among golf journalists reflecting on another day saved by the most quotable figure in the game. Time after time Monty, either by deed or word, would create the most newsworthy event of a tournament day.

Now there can be little doubt the veteran Scot has been superseded by US Open champion Rory McIlroy as the most productive headline-making machine in golf.

Indeed, from the moment television cameras captured the boyhood McIlroy chipping into his mum's washing machine, he seems to have had an instinctive knack for creating news stories.

When he made his Open Championship debut as an amateur in 2008 at Carnoustie he was being given "unofficial" advice by his now former manager Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler.

International Sports Management's (ISM) founder was planning to offer media training to the teenager he was about to sign. Once McIlroy became the only player to go bogey-free on the first day at the fearsome Scottish links, Chandler was reconsidering the move.

He saw how easily McIlroy dealt with the television, radio and newspaper interviews. The lad from Holywood, Northern Ireland had a natural ease in the spotlight that no media trainer could possibly enhance.

"You cannot teach charisma," Chandler noted and the planned lessons were abruptly cancelled.

Fast forward to today and a period likely to be regarded as the post-Tiger Woods era and we can safely say the 22-year-old has become the biggest draw in world golf.

The US Open victory was Rory McIlroy's first in a major tournament. Photo: Reuters

With his stunning eight-shot victory in the US Open at Congressional in June, he produced by miles the outstanding performance of 2011. But that, as they say, is barely the half of it.

Already this year McIlroy had spectacularly blown a four-shot lead heading into the final round of the Masters - but he handled the disappointment with a dignity that earned the sympathy of the golfing world.

Three months later he bounced back with that first Major in Washington to delight Europe and satisfy America's extraordinary love of a tale of redemption.

No longer did he solely belong on the back pages. He was briefly reunited with his childhood sweetheart and long-term girlfriend Holly Sweeney - only for them to break up in the wake of that first Major victory.

Then, in the wake of a lacklustre four days at Royal St George's where he finished 25th with a seven-over-par, McIlroy stunned us by saying that he could only win the Open if the wind didn't blow.

Next he embroiled himself in a Twitter row with pundit Jay Townsend at the Irish Open. Townsend criticised McIlroy's course management, while McIlroy responded by telling Townsend to "shut up" and calling him a "failed golfer".

At the US PGA he took on a ludicrous second shot at the third hole of his first round which involved hitting against a tree root - a contest he was never likely to win. As a result he injured his wrist and it was some achievement, though probably foolhardy, for McIlroy to complete all four rounds.

But, if he needed comfort to salve the injury, it came in the shape of the world's top tennis player and his new girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki. You would struggle to make up the number of ways he could find to make headlines.

Nevertheless, the constants in his life remained - father Gerry, mother Rosie and manager Chubby.

That was until a couple of weeks ago when the most unexpected story of the lot transpired and he dispensed with the agent who had nurtured his career since his amateur days.

It is a decision that remains the talk of the range and beyond, especially as there has been no shortage of blue-chip deals since that landmark US Open victory. Rumour has it McIlroy was unhappy with the way his public image was being managed but any adverse publicity he has suffered has been largely self-inflicted, beyond the bounds of any manager to prevent.

Even so it was the player's prerogative, particularly as his deal with Chandler was done on a handshake. Who knows what guarantees he has secured with Horizon Sports, his new Dublin-based management company?

What is beyond debate is that McIlroy had continued to keep his name in the headlines at a time when he wasn't doing much out of the ordinary on the golf course.

A string of high finishes showed his form was decent but he could not find a way to add to what was a poor reflection of his talents - just three career wins.

That was until he competed for the richest individual prize in golf at the Shanghai Masters. Totally in keeping, he ensured the stories would be all about him throughout the tournament.

McIlroy led for the first three rounds, wobbled on the final day and then won a play-off against Anthony Kim to bank the £1.25m first prize.

So now, as we head into the final WGC of the year - the HSBC Champions event in the same Chinese city - he is once again the main story in town. Still to elaborate on his split with ISM, McIlroy will prefer to reflect on this lucrative victory when facing inevitable questions this week.

Regardless, his pre-tournament news conference on Wednesday will command the biggest attendance, just as used to be the case for Monty in his pomp and, for that matter, Woods.

Neither has qualified for this tournament but with McIlroy taking part they will be hardly missed.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    the biggest name in golf now and only 22,, 22!! its all out there in front of him , even when he is playing ordinary golf its a top ten finish,,

  • Comment number 2.

    This is the worst blog ever! I am sick of hearing about McIlroy and his antics of the fairway, why dont peolpe just face up to it, he is just an average golfer.

  • Comment number 3.

    very good chumba,,,lol

  • Comment number 4.

    No2 - McIlroy is really average right enough! - The 3rd ranked player in the world and US Open Champion at 22. That is proof that he is an exceptional player. I assume you think the 4th, 5th, 6th ranked players in the world [currently Dustin Johnson, Steve Stricker and Martin Kaymer] are just plain rubbish then!

    It is fine not to like an individual like McIlroy but it is wrong to let that skew your view of his golfing achievements at his age. The stats on his career to date speak for themselves. He is an absolutely brilliant golfer, no question.

  • Comment number 5.

    "Fast forward to today and a period likely to be regarded as the post-Tiger Woods era and we can safely say the 22-year-old has become the biggest draw in world golf."

    Did Tiger announce his retirement over the weekend? I must have missed that.

  • Comment number 6.

    Rory McIlroy an average golfer, lol.

  • Comment number 7.

    Chumbawumba....is that you chubby?? Because only chubby and lee westwood, his wee chubby friend, would try and say Rory is average.....and even then they'd be laughed at.....whats funny is watching chubby and co watchin and waiting for lee westwood to win a major, even clarkey beat him to it lol.

    Mcilroy is naturally gifted and at 22 is only gonna get better and better, which obviously for an average golfer is the name of the game!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    Love the way Tiger has been totally discounted. I expect him to feature prominently at the beginning of 2012 after he's had a whole winter to practice. Something about McIlroy annoys people, and I can't put my finger on what. I personally don't think he's a star for the long run, misses far too many short putts and is just a bit too arrogant. But for the moment, he's a brilliant golfer.

  • Comment number 9.

    Undoubtedly one of the most naturally talented players in the game. Not sure yet whether he can win unless he's at the top of his game (eg US Open) ie can he really grind out a victory the way we've seen other top players do over the years. His temperament under pressure has not really been tested fully yet, but this will all come in time. I know he's only 22, but for the talent he has, there's just a feeling that he should win more events than he does.

  • Comment number 10.

    All this talk of Mcilroy and fair play he's gone out there and won golf's richest price of 1.25 million pounds which is a great achievement to go along with his US open victory which was also a masterclass and his brilliant show in the masters before his collapse but what about a word for a certain Mr Sergio Garcia???.... What a year, out in the wilderness of golf at the start of the year as 78th in the world and finishes the year with back to back wins and climbs to 18th in the world, couple this with some outstanding shows in the majors, this as got to be one of the greatest comebacks after falling out of love with the beautiful game, Garcia should be applauded, and Iain Carter needs to mention this in his write ups!!

  • Comment number 11.

    Fair enough about Rory, Iain, but what a shame you write your blog extolling his virtues in a high-priced exhibition when one of the European Tour's great events of the season has just concluded at Valderrama with a wonderful win by Sergio Garcia.

    The Shanghai Masters was deliberately organised to undermine events on other Tours and, wittingly or not, the BBC has added unwarranted credibility to the money-grab with this article.

    Perhaps Horizon will revive the Skins Game next, Rory front and centre, to give you something else to write about.

    Far better to focus on the HSBC Champions now, albeit without Garcia, Laird, Johnson, Mickelson, Simpson, Watson, Sneds, Stricker, Kuchar, Fowler etc. Tim Finchem obviously has taken the "w" out of WGC.

  • Comment number 12.

    mickeysausage- agree with comments re: Sergio, great to see him back in the winners circle and clearly loving the game again. Also reassuring to see him knocking in those four footers that dogged his career for years. I would absolutely love to see Garcia fulfil his undoubeted potential. I followed him in 99 in his final round in the Irish Open at Druids Glen as he shot a stunning 63 to win, I was awestruck by his flamboyance, ball strinking ability, imagination and the unbridled passion and will he had- the back end of last year it was clear that, for a variety of reasons which we can only speculate on, these traits had been sucked out of Sergio. The break away was needed and seems to have been beneficial. I think he'll see him really in the mix at a Major next year, whether his putting can hold up under that pressure will be the difference between him capturing the elusive forst one. An incredible talent and at only 31 is still young in golfing terms, CMON SERGIO!!!

  • Comment number 13.

    no2, Chumba. You are actually having a laugh.
    Yes, Rory has lessons to learn, Grinding out victories and producing displays like Luke Donald did last week, coming from through the pack to win. and not bottling playoffs, granted he won on Sunday, but Kim dollied the 3footer to put it on a plate for him.

    I personally dont think Tiger in his prime could have done what Rory did at quail hollow,(BOLD STATEMENT I KNOW)
    I think where he does fall down is some course management ( wrist injury shot? who does that) and choices off the course( leaving Chubby) I dont understand that one but it looks like another superstar has followed the coin as apposed to the Jerry MaGuire style agent. it makes sense as its the way of the world these days.

    I'm also surprised that Sergio didn't get a mention, this year has been more a surprise, but a good surprise. He's back where he belongs in the the top 20.

  • Comment number 14.

    #2 "This is the worst blog ever! I am sick of hearing about McIlroy and his antics of the fairway, why dont peolpe just face up to it, he is just an average golfer."

    He he...get over it Chubby.

    The Tiger era is dead and gone...thats a fact until Tiger proves otherwise...and we are still waiting for that. But thank God for Rory McIlory...cos with boring Luke Donald and even boringer Lee Westwood at no1 & 2 in the world...without Rory the sport would be in turmoil...he is the most exciting thing about golf right now and without him and Tiger golf would be in decline.

    Come May next year Rory will be world no.1 and rightfully so...and finally we can have a world no1 that deserves the title.

  • Comment number 15.

    i think a lot of whats said here is true. the BBC shouldnt be talking about Rory so much when there was a great event at Valderama. Sergio has been brilliant the last two weeks but i still dont think he will win a Major next year. And post-Tiger era?! Iain Carter has this one very wrong. Tiger should never be dismissed just like that!!!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Tiger may never win again!

  • Comment number 17.

    Can't rule it out though. Also boring Luke Donald? Worthy #1, consistently better than McIlroy week in week out, which is what the rankings measure. Bit harsh

  • Comment number 18.

    Luke is definatly the most consistant and prob the nicest guy in golf...but a world number 1 without a major isnt a real number 1.

    Lee Westwood and Luke Donald are the only 2 world no 1's in history that didnt have a major to their name...I think they were the most consistant at the times they were no1...but to me they were just keeping the position warm for a real no1 to come along.

  • Comment number 19.

    Although a big Rory fan, I am worried that he we are getting carried away with the hype. There is no doubting his talent but he now needs to let his clubs do the talking in the Majors. Providing journalists with a bit of copy is not my measure of success. If he wins the Masters and potentially the Open in the next couple of years then he can be rightfully called the 'next big thing'. I think he can do this and become World No1 as well but it is disrespectful to others to give him this accolade right now.

  • Comment number 20.

    Congratulations to Sergio on his brilliant performance and the Andalucian masters and his long overdue return to form, it would be great for him to be contesting the last day of a major again, and hopefully he will be next year.

    @ 14 - Boringer - definitely the word of the day!

  • Comment number 21.

    in 9 years time McIlroy will be the age garcia is now.. lets just see what he has won then. I am forecasting 9 majors and 25 other wins . the Open championship will be won more than once in that time. the best european golfer ever with young Tom Lewis comming up too!!! what a decade we have in store. The idea that he cant grind out a result just look at last weekend. or the Dubai desert classic what about that last hole bunker shot and put.. at 19!!!! be real people. his results over the last 5 tournaments..3,3,2,2,1, really average!!!!

  • Comment number 22.

    my memory tells me that padraig harrington won the open at carnoustie in 2007 and at birkdale in 2008, mcilroy won the silver medal at carnoustie in 2007. such a simple oversight when writing something like this, get the facts right, come on!

  • Comment number 23.

    Luke Donald is a worthy #1 major or no major, because he is the player to be beaten in every tournament he plays in. I don't think it will be long before he wins one either. @karlwbrown not a chance. The difference between McIlroy and other players who do that are that they hole everything, Rory needs to get a lot better at putting before he wins at Augusta. Also the Open twice? He's already said he won't win it if the wind blows, and if he can't be bothered to learn how to hit a low ball it shows he really isn't that great a ball striker

  • Comment number 24.

    Not Iain's best blog this. It doesnt really say anything! Come on Iain, tell us what you really think about some of the games issues!!!!

  • Comment number 25.

    I think Woods will not win another major. He is broken in too many ways.

  • Comment number 26.

    Rory is a great golfer on his day but sometimes his decsions on the course let him down. Not sure that he will grind out results when the going gets tough, as he has kind of admitted he is a bit of a fair weather golfer. This is probably his reason for going back to the us tour next year. His change of management is also probably around the fact that he intends to play stateside and most of chubby's stable are predominately european based players. Lets hope he does not do a GMac and fall off the radar for twelve months as the move stateside has not worked that well for him after his great year last year.

  • Comment number 27.

    All these people moaning about how he isn't good enough and is arrogant.......get a grip. You don't do what he has done and be a bad golfer. And so what if he has an arrogant streak.....he knows he is good and says it like it is. Do we really want another golf robot being interviewed and churning out the same old hiring answers?? I say keep on boogiing rory.

  • Comment number 28.

    @Karlbrown are you for real boy! Mcilroy with 2 open victories under his belt in the next 9 years?? No chance! He only plays in the thing because he will get slated if he doesnt with him hailing from the UK, there is more chance of Chubby Chandler throwing a Hot Dog at the little lepricorn at the next Open than Mcilroy actually winning one!

  • Comment number 29.

    BiloMct at last we agree, i think its time that Iain Carter started getting a bit more involved and wrote a serious blog!

  • Comment number 30.

    I think it’s fair to say that few players are good in bad/windy conditions. Tiger Woods hasn’t won the British Open in bad weather, only sunny Hoylake and St Andrews. So Tiger and Rory are similar golfers who perform in fair weather. Look at Rory's record as a teen sensation and you start drawing parallels with Tiger and Jack Nicklaus, facts don’t lie. If Rory can improve his putting slightly he will dominate like Tiger did but in Rory's case over the next 10-15 years.

    Tiger is broken because of injuries, NOT the scandal. I feel for the guy, but his body is mid 30s and suffering and that makes him human. I think he deserves a break now and we need to stop judging him on past mistakes and judge him as the more humble human being of 2011.

  • Comment number 31.

    Pointless blog, reminded me of an article written by a papperazzi gossip columnist not a golf writer. Rory Mcilroy is a fantastic talent no question, he reminds me of mickelson sometimes with his big shot selection and his courage to take on the flags, but it has to be said he is a rythm player. When hes good hes excellent and very hard to beat, particularly if hes leading or in the mix of things. CONTINUED....

  • Comment number 32.

    CONTINUED... However if things dont go his way you see the wheels come off a bit and he struggles to find his composure again. youve got to remember though that hes only 22!! and I think a lot of people, particularly the press, forget that. In my eyes this kid is 1 of a few players around at the minute who has the potential to be one of the all time greats, forget donald and westwood, there great golfers undoubtedly, but they seem settled and lack the charisma and natural flare of Rory. He is at a very important time in his career and if he stays dedicated to golf, I feel in the next couple of years he, along with the likes of probably Kaymer, Day and possibly a few others will be a long way in front of the rest of the pack in world golf.

  • Comment number 33.

    McIlroy to win the Open? he's a great player but i don't think he has the right temprament to stick out the Open. @karlbrown, i think your getting a little excited about the next decade's golf, we will inevitabily get some people who will be one off's and seize the moment, then disappear off the scene, and there will be players who will come from nowhere to establish themselves in a short period of time, Webb Simpson. But to say McIroy will dominate as much as you claim is bold to say the least.

  • Comment number 34.

    He's pretty good, but he's no Bo Van Pelt. Or Simon 'someone turn off that' Dyson.

  • Comment number 35.

    Most are valid points but some are a bit dillusional, fact is, people luv watchin exciting players, tiger is certainly one and has done massive things, sergio is with terrific personality, luke donalds back 9 to win the american tour was simply unbelieveable and is exciting to watch, Rory at 22 is definately one, even from the age of 10 when he won the under 10's world championship breaking tiger woods scoring record at the sametime, and he broke most of tigers records on the way to where he is now!

    His coach Michael Bannon is our club pro and when he wins he always brings the trophies down to the club and let anyone and everyone have a picture and hold it, he's very down to earth as is sergio, this blog is on the money!

  • Comment number 36.

    "He's pretty good, but he's no Bo Van Pelt. Or Simon 'someone turn off that' Dyson."

    is that a joke??

  • Comment number 37.

    @31 simmotee123 ...here here. Completely pointless blog is right. This Blog is like something a child would write. I've always enjoyed Iain's blogs but this one is very disapointing.
    mickysausage....it is a shame Iain has wrote this blog. Keep the faith with him though, he has shown in the past he knows what he is talking about. This is just a temporary blip in form by Iain...much like your mate Garcia's dip in form last year. You heard it here first...Carter will rise up again and shoot a 59 in Blog terms!

  • Comment number 38.

    mickysausage and sumo

    ye obviously dont play golf because to say Rory doesnt have the game to win the open is totally ignorant.
    The boy has the course record at st andrews so we know he loves links courses...and he grew up in NI so he is well used to the wind, he won hundreds of tournaments as a youth in NI playing links golf...what has happed of late is he developed his game to suit parkland courses because 99% of tournaments are on parkland courses. He learned to hit the ball higher land land softer.

    If he wanted to hit the ball low like he did for most his youth then he could hit the ball low...this year he didnt prepare right for the British Open because he was coming straight from a major win...next year if he takes 2-3 weeks to hone his links skills it will all come back to him....and then he will no doubt be a contender.

    Rory will certainly win more then 1 British Open before he hits 30. Unless he retires.

  • Comment number 39.

    james mathew

    Rory took a month off before the Open. For a substatntial part of that time he was in NI playing links golf, so while he wasn't actually competing, he was preparing and honing his skills by playing links. Woods often used to do something similar.

    Interesting article in this month's Golf Monthly that Tom Watson used to hate links golf and couldn't come to terms with the 'randomness of the bounce'. He said he even won his first 2 Opens while disliking it. However thereafter he had an attitude change and came to love links and the shot-shaping more than anything else. I'm sure McIlroy will similarly change his views.

  • Comment number 40.

    Nick at number 23,, I think if you ask any of the other pros they will tell you atht tiger and mcilroy are the two best balls strikers out there , also he will win the open its a matter of time . he did finiish 3rd at st andrews, and 2nd at the dunhill this year so you dont know what you are talking about it wssnt his putting taht let him down at augusta, and he had left them all behind after 3 rounds there, at the us open he only three putted the penultimate hole and draind a load ...won by shots and not a good ball striker or putter..please..

  • Comment number 41.

    McIllroy - like Dolly Parton, its all in front of him.

    Sergio - great to see him back, surely 2012 will be the year he bags a major if his form and attitude holds.

    Tip for breakthrough player next season - Manassero, he's got the lot

  • Comment number 42.

    @40 karlwbrown...you are good at spelling the word ' that '

  • Comment number 43.

    @35 GORDI29....Rory does seem like a decent lad at the end of the day and i think the way he still goes back to his local clubs like that is wonderful and he is a great role model. the people on here slagging him are just jealous i think

  • Comment number 44.

    James Mathew - If you actually read what i wrote, i didn't say Rory didn't have the game to win the Open, i questioned his temprament. The two are completely different things.
    And then to say he grew up in Northern Ireland so he is well used to the wind is just ridiculous, apparently David Hasselhoff is an expert in the bunker as well.

  • Comment number 45.

    sumo82, to bring The Hoff into the mix is outrageous.

  • Comment number 46.

    Rory, Lewis and Manassero!!! Total age = 59

    They are the 3 to watch next year...spear headed ofc by Rory

  • Comment number 47.

    Even if he is a great ball striker the fact he publicly said he can't be bothered to change his game to try win the Open says a lot. At St.Andrews he had the best of the weather until day 3 when the wind picked up then it was 80+. I wouldn't say he left them all behind, they caught him up after 2 holes. Also I think it was his putting at Augusta, 3 stabbing the first from 20 ft, and if he hadn't missed 2 footers at 11 and 12 he would still have been in with a shout. His only long game disaster was at 10.

  • Comment number 48.

    "And then to say he grew up in Northern Ireland so he is well used to the wind is just ridiculous, apparently David Hasselhoff is an expert in the bunker as well."

    quality!!!

  • Comment number 49.

    Nick Clayton

    Ah come on...Rory said that straight after shooting himself out of the British Open...when he was in a dreadful mood. No way he ment it.
    Tiger wouldnt never even talk to press after a bad round for fear of what he might say.

    You can be sure Rorys dream as a boy was to win the British Open...long before he dreamt of winning the US Open. So he will 100% try to adjust his game each year to try and win the event and he will win it...no question.

  • Comment number 50.

    Bit like how he said he didn't really care about the Ryder Cup? I think he would just prefer to play in the US most of the time, which is probably where he will have most success. I guess his ability to keep quiet will come with age, think Tiger had the right idea from the start.

  • Comment number 51.

    Also the Hasselhoff comment is exceptional lol

  • Comment number 52.

    3 titles and 1 major, yes Rory's the next big thing, but hardly no1 material at the moment.
    To be number 1 (the best) you have to be consistent, winning or top 10.
    I assume all golfers would love to have the 'major' to their name, but to say you have to have a major to be really respected as a number 1 is wrong.
    Anyone of the top players have a great week and win a major (Hamilton, Toms, Lawrie etc), not many can top the points table over 2 seasons, or the money list on both sides of the pond.
    Until he can do that, he will always be in Luke's (and Tigers) shadow

  • Comment number 53.

    The HOFF!!!! ridiculous character to bring into a golfing forum! Next Sumo82 will be telling Spongebob Squarepants is a dab hand with the putter!

  • Comment number 54.

    "Tiger wouldnt never even talk to press after a bad round for fear of what he might say"

    So What??

    All the comparisons between Mcilroy and Tiger Woods are not relevant at all, Rory Mcilroy is a fantastic talent and there are definite similarities but boy has he got a long way to go before he should be even mentioned in the same breath as Woods. I think the same too about the bull s*** that we are in a post " tiger era". He hasnt retired has he? Anyone who can say that tiger woods will never be challenging for a major or competing for tournaments again is a fool, he is not the player he was by no means, but to write him off is silly.

    i know its a little off topic and im sorry to go on but it needs saying. He is the most competitive golfer out there for god sakes!!!

  • Comment number 55.

    People writing off Tiger is ridiculous! The best player of all time and some people have the nerve to say we are in post-Tiger era! Thats a crazy thing to say. Even more crazy that Sumo82 saying the Hoff is good in the bunker.
    Here's something to debate...Who do you think is the best:-
    1. Putter of all time?
    2. Bunker Player of all time?
    3. Iron Player of all time?
    4. Driver off all time?
    5. Greatest player of all time?

  • Comment number 56.

    #sumo82

    Have you played golf in to NI? At Royal Portrush Golf Club or Royal County Down Golf Club?

    Obviously not because if you did you would know they are notorious links courses that blow a hurrican. All the main golf courses are links courses where McIlory dominated for most of his youth..he also won the West of Ireland championship 2 years running...I suppose you think that was played on a parkland course as well?

    But I suppose after all this and his T3, T25 finishes in the last 2 British Opens you still think he doesnt have the game for links golf.

    Your not the most educated golf fan are you.

    Go Rory!

  • Comment number 57.

    Tiger era is dead and buried.

    Sure he was the best player of all time...but like Jack Nickalus he is past his prime.
    He may win again but he wont return to the top 5 in the world ever again...and neither will Jack.

    Sorry to break this on some of ye.

  • Comment number 58.

    @James Mathew no.14

    "The Tiger era is dead and gone...thats a fact until Tiger proves otherwise...and we are still waiting for that. But thank God for Rory McIlory...cos with boring Luke Donald and even boringer Lee Westwood at no1 & 2 in the world...without Rory the sport would be in turmoil...he is the most exciting thing about golf right now and without him and Tiger golf would be in decline.

    Come May next year Rory will be world no.1 and rightfully so...and finally we can have a world no1 that deserves the title."

    As a scratch golfer who aspired to play on the European Tour when turning pro at 21 some 17 years ago I feel I am fully qualified to tell you that with this comment you are talking complete RUBBISH!!!

    Golf would never be in decline because of who was no.1 in the world at any given time! As a massive Nick Faldo fan at the time (not exactly an "exciting" exponent of the game) I couldn't stand Greg Norman who many loved for his flare of smashing it miles etc etc, just like many do Rory now. Similar comparison, though maybe unfair to make so early in Rory's career, but Greg was prone to huge collapses in Majors similar to that of Rory's last April. So trust me there will be thousands of youngsters out there aspiring to be the next Luke Donald!!

    Until Rory has accumulated the number of majors many predict he will go on to do so then we should all stop shouting about how good he is going to be!! Remember David Duval, no.1 in 1999 and major winner in 2001 (both when Tiger was around and at his best), and how good did he go on to be (433 in the world currently).

    And as for your insinuation that Luke Donald does not deserve the world number 1 ranking, how anyone can argue that he is not the most consistent, and therefore best, golfer in the world is beyond me. Our fascination with the best players only winning the majors is the biggest myth of them all, yes often the top players in the world do win them but if anyone can say they think that the likes of Ian Baker-Finch, Paul Lawrie, Ben Curtis, Shaun Micheel, David Toms, Todd Hamilton etc etc could ever be considered to be anywhere near as good as Luke Donald, then get them a straight-jacket!

    Golf is about "on the day", and maybe Rory's best is better than Luke's best (very open for debate) but the fact is that Luke's best is on show far more often and therefore, he is a better player than Rory - FACT!!

  • Comment number 59.

    james mathew

    So Tiger is the best of all time? Why do his acievements rate higher than those of Nicklaus?

    Also, if Tiger may win again how can his era be dead and buried?

  • Comment number 60.

    @39- powerhitter- the great Bobby Jones had a similar distaste for links golf before falling in love after a few visits to the Open and Ameteur.

    This brand of golf was alien to these two great Americans but it was only after time when they began to understood the beauty of this type of game, the purity, imagination and shot making skills required to be successful, that they developed such an affinity with it. You would think, having grown up playing a lot of links golf that McIlroy would be more accustomed to it, used to dealing with the bounce and conditions................

  • Comment number 61.

    ..........................The way I see it is that McIlroy has actually gone the flip side of these two greats and fallen for "American" version of the game- the modern game of target golf which constitutes the vast majority of the schedule. He is no doubt a wonderful exponent of this game however I do wish that he had more of a passion and flair for the links game as it is, in my opinion, the purest form of the sport and the one which demands the player to be more than a one dimensional player.

  • Comment number 62.

    #powerhitter

    I was replying to #55 BiloMcT who said Tiger was the greatest of all time...personally I think he will never reach the heights of Jack Nicklaus.

    And im sure Tiger will win a tournament in Asia or Oz or some small event in USA in the future but it wont be any kind of a come back.


    #Mikeh651995

    Long post...but I ask 1 question...how many majors has Luke Donald won?

    and that answer will be the same in 10 years time because he doesnt have the game (mental and physical) to win a major if he had...he would have won one before now. He is in his mid 30's now...not long left.

  • Comment number 63.

    @57.At 16:05 1st Nov 2011, james mathew wrote:
    "Tiger era is dead and buried.

    Sure he was the best player of all time...but like Jack Nickalus he is past his prime.
    He may win again but he wont return to the top 5 in the world ever again...and neither will Jack.

    Sorry to break this on some of ye."

    Yes I think it is safe to say that Jack Nicklaus, at the tender age of 71 and with his last Major win in 1986, is PROBABLY past his prime. However 36, TW is not quite ready to join the Golden Bear in the golfing great retirement home.

  • Comment number 64.

    #james mathew

    Luke Donald is 33 which is the age that Nick Faldo was in 1990 at which point he had won just 2 of his 6 majors so I would counter that he has plenty of years left. Also Darren Clarke has just won his first at 43, Mark O'Meara was 41 when he won 2 majors in 1998, Ben Crenshaw won the Masters at 43, Hale Irwin won the US Open at 45, and of course Big Jack was 46 when he last won the Masters ...... need I go on?

    And before you counter with the mental side of Jack, Hale, Ben, being multiple major winners, just remember Darren has never been feted as a strong golfer mentally!!

  • Comment number 65.

    james mathew- read what you have just writtine- I will paraphrase- Luke Donald (at 33 years of age i might add) has not long left in his career.
    It is quite probable in fact that LD is actually not even half way through his golfing career at the highest level and judging by his improvement in terms of consistency and variety to his game, seems to be only reaching his prime as a golfer. LD has an efficient and compact swing, one that does not rely too heavily on the strength and flexibility of youth, a very repeatable action, great course management, if he keeps himself fit (as he does) there is no reason to suggest why he won't be playing golf at the highest lavel into his mid 40s, as we have seen with many in the last few years most notably Vijay.

  • Comment number 66.

    "Yes I think it is safe to say that Jack Nicklaus, at the tender age of 71 and with his last Major win in 1986, is PROBABLY past his prime. However 36, TW is not quite ready to join the Golden Bear in the golfing great retirement home."

    Quality, very witty, I was going to type something along those lines.

    On a serious note its ridiculous that people can actually say that because hes had a couple of bad seasons he is washed up. It is illogical to talk of someone of his calibre as a spent force. A player of his standards just needs to find a bit of form and everyone knows the rest.......... i personally would love to see it happen because on song he plays golf as close to perfection as it can be played, and ive already said hes not my favourite golfer!!

    im a just a golf fan talking sense, a few results to go his way and a bit of confidence is all he is needing

  • Comment number 67.

    James Matthew you are obviously a wind up?? I will quote Mcilroy after the open shal i ?......... After the final round, McIlroy said he wasn’t a fan of tournaments where the “outcome is predicted so much by the weather,” adding that “there’s no point in changing your game for one week a year.”

    Tiger (Woods) adapted, (Jack) Nicklaus adapted, (Arnold) Palmer adapted. They all adapted. And to say Tiger is past it is the most ridicoulous comment in blogging history, jacks in his 70's Tiger in his 30's, coswollop!!

  • Comment number 68.

    donald has had a brill year and is number 1 the numbers dont lie end of... next year will be interesting when macca is in US no more baggage of old girlfriend, no more feeding chuuby's pension fund.. a source of irritation to macilroy after chubbys comment to that effect a couple of years ago alledgedly... cant wait. macca to win the masters and us open again plus two WGC's and a couple of tour events. game over.

  • Comment number 69.

    oh yes Tiger is done..too many young guns to deal with

  • Comment number 70.

    It's interesting all the comments about Luke Donald & Lee Westwood not deserving of #1 & #2 in the rankings without winning a major. VERY similar to all the comments you can also see on the tennis blogs about Caroline Wozniacki not being a credible #1 in the WTA. Should rankings measure consistency over the year or 4 tournaments a year (16days for golf, 8 weeks for tennis)?

  • Comment number 71.

    Ian Carter is either from Hollywood or just admires Rory because he puts Rory's media conference as the same as Tiger. Please go and take a brain scan. Not in the same league today, tomorrow, ever. He will be lucky if he wins any major again.

  • Comment number 72.

    They said the Spanish player Sergio was going to progress, was going to be Tiger's nemesis, ? Rory is next to follow. watch this space. He is nothing special. Remember how The young American good looking boy with the awesome looks made him look crap, and started throwing his toys out of the pram.

  • Comment number 73.

    I am far from convinced that Rory McIlroy has become the so-called 'cream of the crop.' Luke Donald has had a far better year, despite him not winning a major which, in the grand scheme of things, is an inaccurate measure of success. It could happen in a small number of years, but for now he is not the best just because he wins 2 million dollars in 1 weekend.

  • Comment number 74.

    Rory is a potential superstar (which we sorely need in golf now that TW appears to be on the wane) but he's not quite there yet.

    Let's have a better 'look' (it's rather agricultural at present, isn't it?) plus a ton of majors, and then a massive scandal regarding his personal life. Nothing less will do.

  • Comment number 75.

    I think the most disappointing thing is that all the players that could have been in the mix for European No.1 decided to follow the money rather than trying to catch Luke and make it more of exciting finale to the season.

    Luke has even said he will play if necessary if anyone chases him down (but everyone would understand if he doesn't) but no one decided to go and play Valderamma (the once season ending tournament) and now it looks like he will be No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic, an achievement no one has ever managed before.

    The world No.1 is definitely right at the moment, he has been the most consistent and played to the highest level the most regularly and this comes from a Westwood fan!

    Rory does appear to have a more intense A game but Luke's back 9 the other week shows how much he can up his game when it comes down to the crunch!

  • Comment number 76.

    Haha nobody likes James Matthew. Rightly so. He made some ridiculous comments.

  • Comment number 77.

    As great as Rory is at his young age, he cannot be described as the cream of the crop.
    The cream of the crop is tiger in his dominant period or Luke Donald plus a major win, consistently in the top 10 and 5, even if not at their best and can produce multiple wins in a season. McIlroy has the multiple wins covered and will win as long as he is on form, but he is unable of pulling it out the bag even when previous rounds haven't been great

  • Comment number 78.

    I had know idea young Rory was dating world no.1 tennis player Caroline Wozniacki,there again i didnt know she was the no.1 tennis player in the world lol.

    I have no doubt that Rory is a masive tallent and he will achieve a huge amount in his career.Lets hope he does it in the manner of Nicklaus and Palmer true greats who are admired and loved for not only their success but for the way they achieved it.

  • Comment number 79.

    Ask Westwood or Donald would they give up their world number 1 accolade for a major title and they would both unreservedly say yes.

    Majors are what success in golf is measured on and how players are remembered.

    In 30 years if someone is asked who Luke Donald or Lee Westwood are the reply will be "they were golfers".

    If someone is asked who Ben Curtis or Todd Hamilton are the reply will be "they were major winners".

  • Comment number 80.

    do you think if there was an article about luke donald ,that there would as many posts here debating how great he can become or how good he is. the answer is definitely No he is a nice lad but the charisma of a damp brown paper bag. can imagine the crouds roaring for Luke like they did at the US open for Macca...LUUUUKKKKEEEEE yes but not on the same scale as what happened there .

  • Comment number 81.

    GazUtd wrote:
    Ask Westwood or Donald would they give up their world number 1 accolade for a major title and they would both unreservedly say yes.

    Majors are what success in golf is measured on and how players are remembered.

    In 30 years if someone is asked who Luke Donald or Lee Westwood are the reply will be "they were golfers".

    If someone is asked who Ben Curtis or Todd Hamilton are the reply will be "they were major winners".
    -----------------

    I agree, and I don't think Westwood has ever made any secret of the importance he attaches to winning a major. To my mind Nick Faldo is the best post-war European golfer because he won six majors. Other people might point to Seve's talents or Monty's consistency, but majors are what really matters. Oddly though I don't know if Donald thinks the same way - he seems to be an accummulator of money/ranking points, happy to be doing it for himself and less concerned with his legacy or image. He's admirably consistent, but its Westwood I think most of us would like to see break that major-duck, Darren Clarke style.

  • Comment number 82.

    Mcilroy as a lot to prove before we can put him up there with the greats like Faldo, Woosnam and Lyle!

  • Comment number 83.

    He may be a good, potentially great, golfer, but his attitude sure is starting to stink.

    1. Since he's reading his own press, he's been in fake-animated mode on the gold course, playing up to the camera.

    2. He seems content with riding his US Open success as an excuse for not winning anything else. Yet when big cash was involved, he magically regained his form.

    3. He's starting to crave the wrong kind of publicity with all this Wozniaki nonsense.

    Things don't look good for him down the road...

  • Comment number 84.

    james mathew - Do you reckon that Rory agrees with you that to be a true no 1 you have to win a major? If so, I hope he keeps it quiet from his other half....

  • Comment number 85.

    GazUtd wrote:

    In 30 years if someone is asked who Luke Donald or Lee Westwood are the reply will be "they were golfers".

    If someone is asked who Ben Curtis or Todd Hamilton are the reply will be "they were major winners".


    What a load of tosh. You are seriously saying that someone such as Monty or Westwood, winners around the globe for a decade or more, wont be remembered longer than someone who had one good week and was barely head of again?

  • Comment number 86.

    If greatness is measured on youth then surely Manassero and Lewis are already in the top 10 of all time.

    Obviously not.

    McIlroy is good yes, but he isn't fantastic. I've seen him leading on Friday only to finish in and amongst the average players on numerous occasions. Wow he's won a major, but so has Darren Clarke - by no means a great player in any way whatsoever. One major doesn't guarantee acclaim. I think McIlroy has the chance to win another because time is on his side. I don't think he is cream of the crop, it just so happens that other players like Kaymer, Mickelson and co. haven't had the best of seasons. There hasn't exactly been prime competition. 3rd in the world isn't something people talk about usually. (Who is the 3rd best footballer in the world?)

    I wont talk about Luke Donald in fear of starting another war about whether he has the potential to win a major and people like BiloMcTroll will have a field day. Good to see he is trying to provoke more responses by calling this blog pointless.

  • Comment number 87.

    too many people think the be all and end all is winning a major and anyone who doesnt is as Rory said about Jay Townsend ' A Failed Golfer '. Ludicrous. Players like Westwood and Donald are doing the game proud. Dont know what satisfies the golfing public these days! Does everyone have to win 5 majors before anyone thinks they are great golfers?! Next thing somebody will be calling BiloMcT mate John Hawksworth ' A Failed Golfer ' !!!!!!!

  • Comment number 88.

    Golfnut99 - we'd manage to last 86 posts without mentioning John 'who the hell is' Hawksworth, and then you go and ruin things.......

  • Comment number 89.

    There are quite a few major winners who have already been forgotten.
    If Donald can add a major to follow his impressive year then will he be remembered as a true great?

  • Comment number 90.

    I think you need more than 1 major (in conjunction with an excellent career) to be considered a 'true great'. Would you consider Sandy Lyle a true great for example? I was a huge fan, but probably wouldn't have him in that category with the likes of Seve, Langer, Faldo, Norman, Mickelson, Woods etc as examples from the modern day. If Donald can add a couple of majors and stay up in the top echelons of the rankings for another 5 years or so, then he might have a claim.

  • Comment number 91.

    So we are not classing Sandy Lyle as a great of the game then @powerhitter? These are some of the achievements of "Alexander Walter Barr "Sandy" Lyle, MBE"....

    2 time major winner, 30 proffessional wins, 3 times european order of merit winner, 2 time ryder cup winner and sir Henry Cotton rookie of the year. And wasnt he the first British person to wear the famous green jacket??

    Not a legend??........... pffffffftttttt! If Rory goes on to achieve as much he will be very happy indeed!

  • Comment number 92.

    @86 Bish....your a Troll of the worst kind....You dont even offer an opinion on anything and your not even funny! Everyone on here has always liked me, especially my new mate Golfnut99, glad to see he's a Hawksworth fan along with mickysausage,jeffkenna,Don247,mickyweir,CHUMBAWUMBA and Sumo82.
    You just dont understand the banter Bish and your clearly on here just to pick on the cool guys like me. Nobody likes you!

  • Comment number 93.

    mickeysausage, depends how many 'true greats' of the game you consider there are/were. Like I said, I was a huge Lyle fan and he had an excellent career. However he's not in the same bracket as Seve, Faldo, Norman, Woods, Watson, Nicklaus, Palmer, Player etc etc. In my opinion he's not in that very top bracket, therefore not what I consider a 'true great'.

  • Comment number 94.

    Powerhitter the Great White Shark hisself could only manage two major wins

  • Comment number 95.

    powerhitter - I'm not sure Greg Norman can fall into your 'top bracket' if Sandy Lyle doesn't

  • Comment number 96.

    I have to agree with powerhitter here. The term 'true great' should be reserved for an elite few. If you start considering Sandy Lyle as a true great then surely you have to extend this club so much that the very term 'true great' becomes diluted and somewhat meaningless. Padraig Harrington (3 Majors, 1 European Order of Merit, 2 European Player of Year, 1 PGA Player of the Year, 26 career wins, 4 winning Ryder Cup Teams) could you consider him a 'true great'? No I don't think he should be considered at that level. The word 'great' gets banded around too much these days in all sports (the worst culprit being Jamie Redknapp on Sky's football coverage). And to people who are already calling RMAC a "GREAT" player- well he has a long long way to go on that one, no doubt he has a supreme talent which affords him the POTENTIAL for greatness.

  • Comment number 97.

    True, but he also had 88 professional wins, and 29 top 10s in majors (Lyle had 4). I'd have Norman in my top 25 players of all time. I wouldn't have Lyle there.

  • Comment number 98.

    Norman was also was ranked the No. 1 golfer in the World for 331 weeks, second only to Woods (recognising that Nicklaus etc pre-dated the rankings). In fact, forget the top 25, he's in the top 15.

  • Comment number 99.

    Jeffkenna i respect your opinion, but we also have people on here saying that to be a true great you have to be a multiple major winner? Does Norman fall into this bracket with only two major wins? Monty all though he had no major wins had a hell of a lot of pro wins and 2nds and top 10's in majors, is he a real true great of golf along with Norman? Powerhitter is Monty in your top 15??

  • Comment number 100.

    And powerhitter dont talk to me about 88 pro wins, are we really counting 31 wins on the tour of Australasia?? Give me a break!

 

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