McIlroy Not Playing Until British Open

By: Jon Peterlin


We all put the Sunday collapse of Northern Ireland’s favorite 22-year-old behind us. Rory McIlroy had put his early April meltdown at Augusta behind him. He was now the 2011 U.S. Open champion winning by a record 16-under-par. After the 18th at Congressional he made the nation melt as he thanked his father and said all the right things.

We were all smitten. He had charmed everyone watching in all the right ways. Then the realization of breaking twelve U.S. Open records set in, and like any golf talk it came full circle back to Tiger.
“I know how good Tiger was in 2000 to win by 15 at Pebble, I was trying to go at that today and emulate him in some way.” McIlroy said after his win.

Taking a page out of Tiger’s playbook, the curly-haired McIlroy opted to not play again until the British Open. Where does this leave us to believe McIlroy’s game is headed? He’s too young to only be focused on Majors like Tiger has for the better part of his career.

So what’s the reason?

Three weeks isn’t long enough where the wheels are going to fall off McIlroy’s game. In reality the only tournament he’d attend is this weekend’s AT&T National in Pennsylvania. Nothing to lose sleep over, but it was finishing 5th in tournaments like the Memorial that got him over the crushing meltdown at Augusta.

The pressure’s off McIlroy. After the Masters, golf critics were fast in labeling McIlroy as the next Colin Montgomerie or Lee Westwood. Not a bad comparison, except it was only for being players that have played great, but haven’t won a major.

So why lay off for the British Open? Some would say Mcllroy wants to ride the win at Congressional for as long as possible. He should relish in his accomplishments. He should take more pride than a little leaguer hitting his first home run. He should be happier than an architect constructing his first building or a lawyer passing the bar exam.

Wrong. All wrong.

Rory can’t take this mindset if he ever wants to be known as more than the 2011 U.S. Open winner. He has all the skills, but is too early in his career to be taking tournaments off after achieving goals.

He is not Tiger Woods.

Despite claims by golf critics, he hasn’t replaced anyone as the next great young golf superstar. There are too many Ricky Fowler’s, Dustin Johnson’s, and Anthony Kim’s who are relishing in Mcllroy’s time off looking to be golf’s next great one.

His time is now. The more dominant he can be during this time period, the more proof we have in labeling him as the next big thing. He has a chance that everyone in the game has been trying to get to; the next Tiger Woods. In anticipation for Mcllroy’s visit, ticket sales for July 14-17th British Open is up 20 percent since it was last played at Royal St. George’s eight years ago. His stock is high right now and a good showing at the AT&T National would only increase it.

A sprained knee and strained Achilles tendon has sidelined Tiger without a timetable on his return. With Tiger out of the picture golf nation needs someone to take his slot and they are desperately hoping Mcllroy steps up. Golf nation has all but shoved it down the 22 year old’s throat, why doesn’t he embrace it?

We’ll find out if the time off hinders Mcllroy’s performance at the British Open. All eyes will be waiting to see if he is over his fourth round collapses. One thing’s for certain: We’ll all be rooting for Mcllroy, let’s just hope we’re not rooting for redemption after someone else hoists the Claret Jug on Sunday.


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