I’ll start by saying I’m a huge Rory McIlroy fan.
Rory’s honesty is a precious commodity in a sport that encourages its players to hide behind a veil of bullshit. 2016 was the year Rory stopped giving a shit, and we can all respect that.
When he was asked a question, he gave an honest answer. “Will you be watching golf at this year’s Olympics?”
“I’ll probably watch the Olympics, but I’m not sure golf will be one of the events I’ll watch.” he replied. Asked which events he would watch, “Probably track and field, swimming, diving, the stuff that matters.”
Ouch we said.
“I didn’t get into golf to try and grow the game,” “I got into golf to win championships and win major championships.” he added.
Our jaws hit the floor.
Nobody could believe that golf’s golden boy could be so heartless. But he had a point. Did Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy get to the top of their sport with a “grow the game” mantra? Fuck no, that’s the last thing on their minds. The problem was that Rory told us this bluntly and we couldn’t hack it. It was so different to the beige, insipid responses we were used to. That’s why we were shocked.
Just look at what was created to help journalists sit through a Tiger Woods interview …
Tiger Woods addresses the media at 10:30am EST. Here is your official bingo board. pic.twitter.com/r5OubSJyk6
— Ari Marcus (@AriMarcus59) November 29, 2016
Rory ushered in a new chapter of honesty, he decided he wasn’t going to jump on the bandwagon any longer. When every golfer agreed to use the Zika virus as an excuse – and some of you vehemently defended this bullshit – Rory took a different line. He withdrew from the Olympics because it wasn’t a priority, showing the same honesty as Adam Scott – who spoke of “scheduling conflicts.”
“I don’t think anyone can blame me for being too honest. It was seven years of trying to give the politically correct answer and finally I just cracked.”
So I ask you: is it Rory McIlroy’s job to grow the game?
A resounding yes, according to Mary McKenna, one of the biggest names in Irish women’s golf.
“His remark about not being in the game to grow the game — Come on, Rory. Where is your head?”…“I just thought it was very, very poor. He should be in the game to grow the game, because the game has made him a multi-millionaire.”
Rory’s behaviour continued to surprise me. His late withdrawal from the Turkish Airlines Open was a real middle finger to the European Tour. Again, Rory used a banal excuse, claiming his decision was based on safety concerns. Anyone with a pinch of common sense knew that the security at Regnum Carya golf course was second to none.
“Disappointed” was Lee Westwood’s response to the news. “He’s defending the money list and he’s pretty much taken himself out of that by not playing. I guess he didn’t feel the way I feel about the place and the security of it all.”
The event’s organiser, Ahmet Agaoglu, went a step further:
“Over the last few months we have seen there is a lot of difference between top golfers and top athletes with some golfers missing events because of a few mosquitoes. True sports people rise above this.
“You can be a superstar, an excellent golfer and sit on top of the rankings but to be an athlete you need something more.”
I actually agree with a lot of what was said.
Rory earns bank because of golf’s sponsor-friendly profile, something that we (the fans) have created. Sponsors see our interest – rooted in our participation – and pump vast sums of money into the sport. Rory has lost touch with this idea.
His recent interview with Billy softened the blow. He was back where he belongs, happy and humble to be playing the sport he loves.
Rory truly is a great guy and a real personality, but he needs to keep his ear to the floor.
Golfers make Forbes rich list because of OUR interest in golf. So enough with the bullshit Rory, you should want to grow the game that’s made you inordinately wealthy. Of course it was your hard work that made you a champion, but you’re no different to the thousands of other sportspeople who have made the same sacrifices. I ask you to remember the squash players who lost their place to Olympic golf.
Golf is unique, I sometimes think the vast sums of money, coupled with the individualistic demands of the game, encourage players to lose their humility. Take a leaf out of Arnold Palmer’s book and learn to fly the flag, it’s the very least you can do for a sport that sets you up for life.