Wednesday, July 13, 2011
An Impressive Rory McIlroy
There are times when I watch Rory McIlroy and have to remind myself that this kid, this would-be college student, is just 22-years-old. One of those times came on Tuesday, when McIlroy (finally!) arrived at Royal St. George's to the parade of cheers and questions and expectations and new life.
You see, before Congressional, McIlroy was famous. Now, the kid is famous in every sense of the word, and instead of deflated expectations, he has renewed, Tiger-esque expectations. The funny part? He welcomes those things. He likes them. He wants to be asked to save the world with a wedge and a divot tool. He enjoys the hype.
His press conference on Tuesday was different. His look was different. He had a pungency of arrogance about himself that the top athletes in the world need to take that next step, and while some might see that next step being his U.S. Open win, I see it as something more. I see it as multiple majors in the same season, and finally ending the conversation on who is really the best in the world (rankings be damned, by the way ... Rory wins another major in the next year, and he's the best in the world no matter what a computer says).
Do I think McIlroy is going to take home the Claret Jug this week? No, not really. He has taken a lot of time off from golf after the U.S. Open and it'll be a little bit of a different game out there this time around. But would it surprise me? Absolutely not. This is the kid that believes in himself more than anyone else believes in him, and that's what a next generation superstar needs to take that title from Tiger, who took it from Jack, who took it from Arnold.
Honestly, it's just easy to like the kid. He seems to do things the right way, and hopefully that continues to be the case. The worry always is how certain young celebrities will handle the idea of being so much larger than life, but Rory sure acts the part.
Thursday and Friday will tell us a lot about where his head is, though. I know I'm as excited to watch an individual play a major as I've been since those old Tiger days. Never thought I'd say that about someone from Northern Ireland.