Is U.S. Open Winner Rory Mcilroy the New Tiger Woods? Absurd

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on June 20th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

On ESPN’s First and Ten this morning they actually asked the question who has a better chance of breaking Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors, Tiger Woods or Rory Mcilroy.

Controversial debater Skip Bayless looked to the host Jay Crawford and asked him if he thought it was a stupid question. Jay said no, but of course it is! For some perspective, it would be like asking when a baseball pitcher like Greg Maddux or Roger Clemens had 240 wins and a rookie has 20 wins, who has a better chance at winning 300? Or asking when Emmitt Smith had 13,000 yards rushing and Terrell Davis had 2,000 yards rushing, who had a better chance of breaking Walter Payton’s rushing record.

Skip is always accusing other debaters of being prisoners of the moment, yet after Mcilroy’s collapse at The Masters he proclaimed him finished. Skip now thinks he has a better shot than Tiger to break Nicklaus’ record because he won one U.S. Open? Really Skip? Really??

First, Tiger is still ahead of Jack’s pace for winning majors. Second, lets give him a chance to get fully healthy or hear that it is not possible to regain full health before we stick a fork in him.

Not Mcilroy and Woods. I want to Compare Tiger to Michael Jordan. Both came out of nowhere and skyrocketed to fame on and off their respective courts, carrying themselves and their sport to new levels. As a result, the media coverage grew exponentially.

For years announcers would say that they’ll never be another Michael Jordan. However, then it became as if a light when on and they realized Jordan is going to get old eventually and we’ll need a new horse to ride to keep the popularity going. Then all of a sudden, everybody with athletic ability became “The next Jordan”. From Harold Miner, Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill, Kobe Bryant, and of course Lebron James. The comparisons were absurd, even as the media tried to break it down by saying, “well just compare so and so to Jordan at age 19 or 20 and who was better”, and then they would suggest extrapolating it…

No, they always fell short and then many in the media and fans blame the player for not being Jordan. After years of fawning over Woods the way they did with Jordan, now those media voices see the light at the end of the tunnel with woods and they want the new golf messiah.

However, with Mcilroy there are many obstacles that could keep him from winning even 10 majors (still a fantastic number!) let alone 19:

  • Are his day four issues (some would call choking) forever behind him? Golf is a sport where it can come and go and you can’t assume that by winning one major he has overcome those demons forever, lets see him win one where it is neck and neck to the wire.
  • What other rivals will emerge for Rory? Will Rory ever suffer injuries? Will Tiger regain his form?
  • Will any new phenoms emerge?
  • What other random golfers will have out of their mind tournaments to keep him from winning a major here or there and upping his total?

The kid is great for the sport and I’m happy for him. I have no bone to pick with him. The Tiger comparisons are unfair to both players. I do agree with Skip that the best thing for the sport would be for Mcilroy to continue to emerge and for Tiger to return to form so we can watch them go head to head in a Roger Federer/ Rafael Nadal type of rivalry. Lets just take a breath and see what Mcilroy accomplishes over a slightly larger stretch and be patient a little while longer before we proclaim Tiger is done.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…