Last month 21-year-old Ulsterman Rory McIlroy sparked some uproar when he made some bold (yet honest!) comments, saying, “I’m sure we’ll probably see him [Tiger Woods] in Wales…I would love to face him. Unless his game rapidly improves…I think anyone in the European team would fancy their chances against him.”
Since then, many have called for a Rory-Tiger face-off at next month’s Ryder Cup, contending that Rory’s comments just might have lit the fire under Tiger’s buttocks. Well, Rory spoke again to the UK’s Daily Mail in the lockeroom at TPC Boston (before rushing off to catch a ride on Ernie Els’ jet — and we all know what happens on Ernie’s jet, buddies throwing back a few). He admitted that the mistakes of his former idol, Tiger, along with another star he admires, Wayne Rooney, a footballer on the Manchester United team who was recently caught with two prostitutes, serve another purpose for the young star.
“Tiger’s mistakes are a big warning and a big lesson for me,” said McIlroy.
“I am sure Tiger regrets everything he did,” he continued. “I expect Rooney will as well. Whatever they were doing, I suppose they thought they’d never get found out but I don’t see how men with such a massive image could think like that.
“I don’t mean to take the moral high ground, but it’s amazing how many people in the spotlight can act with such naivety. Even if you think there is no one around, it shows there’s always someone watching or prepared to tell if you step out of line.
“Anyone with a mobile phone can take your picture and post it on the internet in minutes. You have to think about your actions all the time. Others have made mistakes before Tiger, but his fame meant he was on the front page of every newspaper in the world. He’d portrayed such a clean-cut image for so long as well.”
But recently, McIlroy met another high-profile star to admire — Rafael Nadal. Rory popped by Flushing Meadows for the US Open in NYC and was struck by the Spaniard’s humility.
“I couldn’t believe how modest he is after all the success he’s had and all the money he has won,” said McIlroy.
“He still lives in the same village in Majorca where he grew up, and he is still going out with the same girlfriend he has been with for years. He’s a great role model for me.
“There are things in his demeanour I’d love to have — his never-say-die attitude, his willingness to fight for every point.”
McIlroy isn’t without vice, though. His weakness? Fancy cars. “I’ve had 13 cars since turning pro, it’s not good, is it?”
Some would say it’s better than having 13 women. To each his own, though.
One thing’s for sure — Rory is a fantastic quote. I love his diplomatic candor.
[Photo by Kyle Auclair/insidetheropes.com]