A 22-year old kid from Northern Ireland is officially on top of the golf world. We don’t want to brag or anything, but we told you this day was coming nearly a year ago when Rory McIlroy dominated at Quail Hollow. While many will argue it is too early to call him the next Tiger Woods, McIlroy is on his way to becoming just that. He has the skill of Woods with youth on his side. More importantly, he has the benefit of being able to learn from Tiger’s mistakes.
As a personality, McIlroy is refreshing for the sport of golf. In a sport where you would be reprimanded for clapping too loudly, along came a kid who tweets pictures of himself pounding booze and isn’t afraid to treat the U.S. Open trophy like it’s the Stanley Cup. There are a couple reasons no one has a problem with McIlroy’s wild side: he’s 22 years old and probably the most skilled golfer on the planet — it’s harmless fun. Also, if you saw Rory McIlroy’s girlfriend, the thought of him cheating on her probably wouldn’t cross your mind either.
On Wednesday, McIlroy involuntarily shed some light upon the demise of Tiger Woods. The 22-year-old spoke with Yahoo! Sports about his recent success and the importance of maintaining a certain arrogance in order to remain successful.
“There definitely is that sense when you win a major, people are going to see you and come at you a little different,” he explained. “And honestly, there is also a difference in the way you approach it yourself. You do have that kind of superiority complex in a way and I don’t think that is a bad thing at all. It takes a while to figure it out and understand things and get perspective, but yes, a superiority complex can be a positive. You have to get yourself into this mentality where you think you are going to go out there and beat everybody else.”
As Jack Nicklaus expressed a little more than a week ago, McIlroy knows he’s one of the best golfers in the world. At one point, Tiger felt the same way about himself. Then he got caught. I don’t mean to imply that every successful athlete would travel down the Tiger Woods path, but McIlroy should use the comparisons between he and Tiger as a reminder that it is important to maintain confidence while remaining on level ground. Tiger’s demise stemmed from his inner demon being discovered by the public. Whether he’s willing to admit it or not, it was ultimately what caused him to lose his edge.
After his meltdown at the Masters a few months ago, many wondered if McIlroy lacked that same edge that once made Tiger Woods the game’s greatest golfer. It didn’t take long for Rory to answer his critics, and he is just now starting to sound like a true champion.
“When I was winning as a kid it made me feel like I was better than everyone else,” he said. “When you love golf so much and it is so important to you, doing well at it gives you this sense of self-importance. The way I view things now is very different. I may be better than you or most people at golf and I can say that and feel that and it doesn’t matter because … I am. Facts show that.
“But there are a million and one things that other people are much, much better than me at, and those things are just as important. So that keeps it in perspective a bit. I feel now that I should have perhaps won more considering some of the golf I have played. Winning is what it is all about.”Google+