Monday, June 20, 2011

Hoping 2012 U.S. Open comes down to Tiger-Rory playoff

The Bald Truth

I miss Tiger. Really.

Sure, I was in awe of Rory McIlroy, both his incredible swing and his can-do demeanor. And I'll admit I was rooting for him to keep going more and more under par.

But as was the case when Tiger Woods was winning tournaments by double-digit totals, I grew a little bored as I watched McIlroy's runaway U.S. Open victory. I'll take a nail-biter of a tournament that goes down to the final putt over a record-setting rout every time.

I mean, how many times should one have to listen to Johnny Miller chuckle at the absurdity of McIlroy's near-perfect shotmaking?

McIlroy certainly looks like golf's next big thing. Wouldn't it be delicious if the sport's last big thing got healthy, got his game back and took all this adulation being heaped on McIlroy personally?

Wouldn't it be great if Tiger Woods acted like his buddy and role model, Michael Jordan, who used such challenges to motivate himself and amaze us all?

I covered the PGA Championship at Medinah in 1999, when a baby-faced Sergio Garcia almost stole the show from Woods. At the time, we all assumed we'd be treated to Sergio vs. Tiger for the next two decades. Unfortunately, Sergio lost his copy of the script.

Now that Tiger is the hunter instead of the hunted, will he be able to play his part? Can he be the Arnie to McIlroy's Jack?

Wouldn't that be something?

The Quote

"He lapped the field, and for such a young age, how mature he is." -- Jason Day

The U.S. Open runner-up is 23, an old man compared to the 22-year-old champion.

The Balder Truth

My favorite thing about McIlroy -- and there are lots of favorite things with this kid -- is how quickly he plays.

He doesn't stand there for five minutes trying to figure out how a 2 mph breeze will affect his next shot. He doesn't examine every putt from 14 different angles. He doesn't agonize for 30 seconds after every miss or pump his fist 20 times after every make. He doesn't confer with his caddie for 10 minutes and change clubs three times before addressing the ball.

He walks up to his Pro V1, hits it and gets ready for the next shot.

All of us would be wise to copy McIlroy's picture-perfect swing. All of us also are wise enough to know we can't.

One thing we can copy is his desire to play the game quickly.

The more time under 4 hours a round can take, the more time there is for the 19th hole.

Who's No. 1?

If it's too early to say for sure that it's McIlroy, we don't really know who No. 1 is. But we know who it isn't.

Luke Donald has to be one of the great pretenders in recent sports history.


Americans aren't winning golf's majors. They aren't contending at Wimbledon, either.

Which means ... what? ... we're supposed to be ashamed to be Americans or something?

Our elected leaders do plenty to make us ashamed. What happens in our sporting venues is immaterial.

It's only sports, you know?

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