Can Rory McIlroy be the new Tiger Woods?
Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times
Rory McIlroy can become the new face of golf. He cannot become the new Tiger Woods. Woods earned his territory and history will retain it.
McIlroy competes with incredible skill and matching grace. Woods competes with incredible -- although diminishing -- skill and matching intensity. Golf might have lucked out here. If Woods can return to his previous level, and if McIlroy can keep his confidence and his game, then golf has its own version of tennis’ Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
As a teenager, Nadal looked up to Federer. As a teenager, McIlroy did the same with Woods. There doesn’t need to be an either-or in golf, when there might be a both. Two-star rivalries always outdo one-star parades.
The easy answer is, “oh yes, absolutely” after the way McIlroy dominated Congressional Country Club and the field at the U.S. Open. He’s a great, young talent with plenty of promise. He showed that Tiger swagger and game at the U.S. Open.
With a little fortitude and fortune, he could have won the Masters. And then, he’d be going for his third major in a row at the British Open.
But can he be the next Tiger?
Maybe, but really, no one can be the next Tiger. He was unique and dominant, as in 14 major championships.
McIlroy has one major, and yes, if he displays the same shot-making prowess and temperament as he did in the U.S. Open, he can emerge as one of the greats of the game.
And in time, that may be enough to reach or surpass Tiger’s rarefied status.
Photo: Rory McIlroy celebrates after winning the U.S. Open on Sunday. Credit: Allan Henry / U.S. Presswire