Some sports need a megastar. Golf is one of them. Without a Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods in their prime, the game suffers.

Fans lose interest if different players continually win on Tour, particularly majors. Television ratings sag when that big name is not in contention during a tournament.

Despite the fact that Tiger is a shell of himself, due in part to injury, he continues to draw massive attention even when he fails to make the cut.

Perhaps, a 25-year-old from Northern Ireland is ready to carry the torch. Rory Mcllroy raised the bar when he captured the PGA at Valhalla, not because he won his 4th major, but it was the manner in which he accomplished the feat. Rory had been the frontrunner in his other Grand Slam tournament victories, but this time he rallied from three shots down starting the back nine in the final round. Mcllroy surpassed three players down the stretch that are ranked in the top 15 in the world; Henrik Stenson (#3), Phil Mickelson (#9) and Rickie Fowler (#13).

This type of an emotional victory, knowing how to battle back on the biggest stage with the brightest lights (even with darkness setting in) can give Mcllroy a mental advantage for years to come. To win when facing adversity is a rare skill that separates a very good player from a superstar.

Is Rory in the class of Jack or Tiger? Of course not, but there is optimism. If one remains unsure about Mcllroy, the first golfer since Tiger in 2008 to win three consecutive tournaments, consider this: Rory is a combined 62 under par over the course of his four major victories. That is the lowest cumulative score to par through a player’s first four major wins. (28 players have won at least four majors).

Stats rarely tell the whole story but they are an indication of fact. In the Masters era (since 1934), Tiger has earned the most major victories by age 25 with six. Guess who is next? Both Rory and Jack with 4.
Mcllroy has the demeanor of confident, yet modest. He embraces the challenge of being “the guy.” Some may even suggest he called off his engagement to tennis star Caroline Wozniacki in order to pursue a legendary status in what is arguably the world’s most difficult individual sport to master.

The NFL and NHL don’t need one player to have the responsibility of carrying the league on its shoulders. When Tom Brady and Peyton Manning retire, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson will be among the young NFL stars ready to lead the way. The NHL has never had a replacement for Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux, yet hockey continues to blossom. MLB will be losing Derek Jeter at the end of the season, but by next year hardly anyone will notice. Yes, the NBA has seemingly become more about Lebron, however, Kevin Durant is the current MVP and there will always be enough Kobe’s and Carmelo’s to attract a wide ranging audience.

It is noteworthy that tennis, an individual sport with similar appeal to golf, has been thriving with more than one man to shoot for. The Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic rivalry has offered suspense, drama and theatre that has accelerated the game.

Dominant teams at the professional level adds an awareness that peaks curiosity. Love them or hate them we remember the Cowboys and Patriots winning three Super Bowls in four years, the Islanders capturing four straight Stanley Cups, the Yankees taking four World Series in five years or Jordan’s Chicago Bulls earning three consecutive NBA championships on two different occasions.

The PGA has evolved into name recognition. There are many excellent players, arguably too many. Mcllroy may not be American or a controversial personality but he has a well-rounded game and a presence to make him relevant. Nobody knows how successful he will be but as golf writer Peter Robinson pointed out in a four-word tweet: “Tiger Was, Rory Is.”


From the Quote Rack:

Rory McIlroy said that breaking up with Caroline Wozniacki “has been for the better in terms of my golf.” So maybe before he was nervous about being with an athletic woman who might have much better aim with a golf club than Elin Nordegren?

Jack Nicklaus on Rory McIlroy: “I think Rory has an opportunity to win 15 or 20 majors… But you just don’t know what the guy’s priorities are going to be in life 10 years from now.” Possible translation, “can he keep it zipped?”

Contributor Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

Steamy photos of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones with some strippers have surfaced and one of the strippers commented that ‘there was a lot of alcohol involved’. Not to mention, Viagara.

A jogger in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park came upon a skeleton wearing a Nets cap. It reportedly was still waiting for a pass from Deron Williams.

Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

According to a University of California study, 65 per cent of NBA players pass gas on court. Except Kobe Bryant, who never passes anything.

According to a Harvard study, excessive sleep can lead to forgetfulness. Which, in the case of Toronto Maple Leafs fans, is probably just as well.

Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer is the new owner of The Los Angeles Clippers. Balmer is thinking of renaming his team to LA Clippers XP.

Centuries old skeletons were discovered buried underneath a Scandinavian church in “Ikea” bags. Each blue bag contained a note that read “Some assembly required.”

Comedy writer TC Chong of Vancouver (http://alwaysfunny.com/)

And in case you missed it:

A North Carolina diner offers 15% discount for praying in public. Double that if you’re praying for the Cubs.

Comedy writer Bill Williams

Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for radio station TheGoat94.3 His column appears weekly on hqprincegeorge.com. Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca
Follow him on twitter: @Hartley_Miller