Why Rory McIlroy Will Never Be the Next Tiger Woods
Rory McIlroy is fresh off winning his second major tournament at the ripe age of 23 years young. Tiger Woods was 23 when he won his second major. Rory McIlroy won his first two majors by a combination of sixteen strokes. Tiger Woods won his first two majors by a combined thirteen strokes. McIlroy is dating a gorgeous European superstar. Woods used to be married to one. Woods is now 36 years old and past the prime of his golfing career. Rory McIlroy has been deemed the next Tiger Woods of golf, taking up the throne atop the golf world to become the next face of the PGA Tour. But here’s the catch:
Nobody will ever come close to being the next Tiger Woods.
To say McIlroy will become the next Tiger Woods is like saying Jason Bourne will become the next James Bond. Don’t get me wrong, Jason Bourne is a stone cold killer and his movies are spectacular. But James Bond is on top of the mountain. Without Bond there is no Bourne. Are the Bourne movies fantastic? Yes. Are they going to make 22 of them? Probably not. Not only was Bond there first, but he also dominated spy movies for generations. How many women did Jason Bourne have relations with in his movies? Maybe two or three. How many did Bond have relations with? Probably in the hundreds.
(If you aren’t following this analogy then you should probably just stop reading here, or seriously step up your movie game.)
Rory McIlroy is the new guy on the block. His first two major wins are jaw dropping. He crushed the rest of the field in both the 2011 US Open and the 2012 PGA Championship. His personal life looks pretty clean from the outside. In other words, he only has one girlfriend. To go along with the analogy, any claim he has to be James Bond more than Tiger is that him and Bond are both British. He is the best player in the world right now trying to chase down Tiger Woods, who many believe (myself included) is the best golfer ever. Even if he somehow comes close to Woods’ 14 majors, he will always be compared to Tiger.
Which brings us to Tiger Woods. He will win more majors, but everyone knows he is past his prime. Not only did Tiger Woods change the game of golf; he changed the entire sports world. Tiger made golf cool. Tiger became the first athlete worth over $1 billion. He dominated golf for a decade. A scientific study conducted by UC Berkley concluded that the world’s best golfers scored one stroke worse when they knew they were competing against Tiger. Wrap your head around that for a second. In baseball, a batter can strikeout and attribute it to the pitcher’s skill. Tiger made others play worse simply out of INTIMIDATION. Augusta National and many other golf courses had to “TIGER-PROOF” their golf courses in order to make competition fairer to golfers who couldn’t hit the ball as far. Imagine having to “Shaq-proof” a basketball hoop to be higher so he couldn’t consistently dunk as often on smaller players. As ridiculous as that sounds in the NBA, it actually happened in the PGA. Tiger was not only sponsored by Gatorade, HE HAD HIS OWN LINE OF FLAVORS. He is sponsored by Nike. He was the epitome of the cool athlete. Tiger had a swagger about him. He didn’t need to answer to media. He cursed when he made bad shots. He was a competitor from Thursday morning tee time until Sunday afternoon on the 72nd hole. He won the US Open on a torn ACL. He showed emotion and competitive fire in a sport that’s governed by class and proper-ness. Did it set people off? Yes. Did he care? Absolutely not. Only after his personal life exploded on him did Tiger tone it down.
Rory McIlroy and Jason Bourne are both business first. McIlroy just plays golf. Bourne just evades the CIA and kills the people who come after him. Tiger Woods and James Bond both bring the extra. Bond had the witty word play and the British charm to him. Tiger patented the victory-red polo on Sundays because he knew he was always in contention. Bond patented a way to order your martini. Bond picked up at least 3 or 4 foreign women on every mission. Tiger Woods, well, the women he picked up actually got him in trouble. Even the name “Tiger” has more swag to it than a name like “Rory” possibly could.
The fact of the matter is that the world will never see an athlete who did what Tiger Woods did. I say the term athlete because what Tiger Woods did to the sports world extends far beyond the game of golf. To crown someone the next Tiger is not only a ridiculous assertion, but also a disrespect to the man who changed the way people think about athletes. Maybe one day Rory will go on and win more majors then Woods and become the greatest golfer to ever play the game. But there’s one title he can never reach: He can never be Tiger.