Rory McIlroy opened The Barclays with a less-than-memorable performance Thursday, shooting a 3-over 74 at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey. He is eight shots behind Charles Howell III, Hunter Mahan and Cameron Tringale, who are all tied atop the leader board with a 5-under 66.
Despite a poor opening round, is there a different feel surrounding McIlroy these days? After all, the guy has won three tournaments in a row and shows no signs of slowing down, Thursday’s performance notwithstanding.
“He didn’t win three tournaments in a row; he won two majors and sandwiched a world golf championship event in between the two majors,” CBS golf analyst Peter Kostis clarified on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Those are three (impressive) tournaments to win. The way he’s done it, I think he’s given people pause to think, ‘You know what? This is the stuff that Tiger used to do. So he’s become electric. He’s become the possibility of the next great superstar in golf, I think.”
But does McIlroy generate the same buzz as Woods did in his prime? Could he really be the next Tiger?
“I’m old enough to have gone through Jack Nicklaus and (the debate about) who’s going to be the next great Jack Nicklaus?” said Kostis, 67. “Well, there will never be another Jack Nicklaus. Tiger Woods came along, and Tiger Woods is his own person. And now we’re talking about who’s going to be the next Tiger Woods. There’s never going to be another Tiger Woods. There’s going to be somebody different who might capture the game – and that could very well be Rory.”
“He has a unique personality completely different from Tiger. He has a different style of play than Tiger. But if he keeps winning at this pace and he keeps demolishing the field, then he will get the level of respect he deserves based on his performances – but not (by) comparing him to Tiger or Jack or anybody else. I just think he’s a special young kid with a great attitude and a great golf game.”
Woods, meanwhile, removed himself from consideration for the Ryder Cup, which was the right thing to do – mainly because Tom Watson would have given him a spot.
“I talked with Tom on Sunday at the PGA (Championship),” Kostis said, “and he was going to put it right to Tiger and say, ‘Look, are you healthy?’ If Tiger answered yes, Tom was going to say, ‘Are you playing well?’ And if Tiger said, ‘Yes, I can play and I’m playing well,’ then Tom would have picked him – and he would have relied on Tiger being honest with his word. But I think things happened in such a manner that Tiger realized, ‘I’m not going to be ready. I can’t play well. I’m not going to go for the sake of going. I’m not going to take somebody else’s spot. I don’t even think I could win a point right now the way I feel.’ So it’s good for Tiger to just back away from the game (and) take as much time as he needs to get healthy.”
In other news, Bubba Watson has apologized for his boorish behavior at the PGA Championship. Watson skipped the long–drive contest – which he admitted was “selfish” – and was also heard using profanities and being belligerent with both his caddy and spectators alike.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen this before from Watson, who finished tied for 65th at Valhalla. When Watson wins, he’s one of the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. When he loses, he’s pouty and petulant.
Which Watson is the real one? Kostis doesn’t know.
“We’ve been here before, and the sad part is, we’re going to be here again – because that’s just Bubba’s personality,” Kostis said. “He has a really short fuse. Some people have (attributed it) to his ADD. I don’t know. He can treat some people rather meanly at times and then he gets off the golf course and he couldn’t be nicer.”
“Phil being Phil, we went through that. Now we’re going through a whole different thing with Bubba being Bubba. I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see how it goes with Bubba, but I knew as soon as he blew off the long-drive contest . . . that he was going to be in for a long hard week because things were getting to him for whatever reason. He had a negative attitude going into (the) practice rounds, and it just carried through the tournament.”