Rory McIlroy is the sports star of the day. And in this fast-moving Internet world, sometimes the stars of today aren’t the stars of tomorrow.
So how long will the 22-year-old U.S. Open champion, swamped in new fans who want to get their paws on him and everything about him, last?Rory McIlroy. You've gotta love the kid.That’s the question that is far more relevant to ask about McIlroy than to compare him to Tiger Woods, which is where many of the knee-jerk sports pundits want to jump.
It’s way, way too early to guess as to whether McIlroy will win 13 more majors. His career is still in its beginning stages. But it is worth wondering how much staying power McIlroy has.
Judging from his ball striking and carefree demeanor, I’m guess Rory, the pride of Northern Ireland, will be around a good long time. I would be surprised if he’s finished winning golf tournaments or majors. Watching him tear apart a U.S. Open golf course – Congressional – over the weekend was captivating.
But there’s no sense to dump a bunch of pressure on McIlroy’s back and compare him to Woods or anyone else. It’s too early in the game for that nonsense, which is something the sports media used to understand. But that was before the world wide web, blogs and sports-talk radio. Now, when a talented and charismatic player comes along in any sport, it takes no time at all for the comparisons and predictions to begin.
McIlroy elicits strong feelings from everybody who watches him play, including his fellow professional golfers. Many of them, including fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell, rave about him. Padraig Harrington, from Ireland, says McIlroy not only can catch Tiger Woods’ 14 majors, but is likely to eclipse the 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus.
I understand getting caught up in the moment, but McIlroy doesn’t need this hyperbole. He needs to do what he does. Hopefully, the success of winning a U.S. Open on golf’s biggest stage doesn’t go to his head. I can’t imagine it will, given how he has handled the media throughout his career. The smooth way he got through his final-round blow-up at the Masters a couple of months ago was masterful. Instead of hiding from the failure, he owned it. And did his best to explain it.
That’s why everyone I know was rooting hard for McIlroy on Sunday, the final day of the U.S. Open. I think most of the players in the field were hoping he would win, especially since none had a reasonable chance of catching him on the final day. Only another meltdown would have allowed anyone else into contention, and McIlroy never showed even a sliver of a meltdown.
Golf has a new star that fans can rally around. There are so many good young players on the PGA Tour now, and some great young foreign players. But no one has been able to step away from the pack and into the spotlight until now.
McIlroy looks like a star. He plays like a star. He seems to have the maturity and composure of a star. The guy’s a star, burning bright. Stars, though, burn out every day. Others continue to shine. Which will McIlroy be?
* I know a lot of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band fans and I admire their tremendous loyalty. It reminds me of how big a fan I am of the Eagles.
I know it’s a sad day for E Street Band lovers because of the passing of saxophonist Clarence Clemons, one of the most recognizable members of any band at any time.
Clemons was 69 and died from complications from a stroke he suffered a week ago.
It’s always a sad day when an iconic musician dies for me. Music is such a big part of my life and is something that takes me back to my youth, which was pretty much defined by sports and music.
I saw Springsteen and his band perform only once, a few years back at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. It was an amazing performance and Clemons was frequently showcased. Springsteen obviously knew what a treasure he had and how so many of his fans also adored The Big Man.
* I don’t know how many of you watch “The Killing” on AMC. It has been airing on Sunday nights and last night was the finale, in which I thought we were going to learn the identity of the killer.
Well, we didn’t. An unexpected plot twist created much doubt and Season 2 of the show looms starting early next year.
All season long, Debbie and I have been expecting some closure at the end of the season. It didn’t happen and now we have to continue guessing for months – months – about what might be happening.
It’s been a really good season and the show gets a strong “B” from me. Probably even a “B-plus.” But last night was a letdown.
Thanks for reading. On tomorrow’s blog, look for another edition of What’s Right Wichita Wichita, both from a sports and general viewpoint.