2010 Ryder Cup: What Did Rory McIlroy Gain from Calling Out Tiger Woods?

Ron FurlongAnalyst IIAugust 24, 2010

DUBLIN, OH - JUNE 02:  Tiger Woods (L) and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland wait in a fairway during the Memorial Skins Game prior to the start of the 2010 Memorial Tournament at the Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 2, 2010 in Dublin, Ohio.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Here is a quick pop quiz for Rory McIlroy, should he choose to accept it.

Question one: What do you never do when you are the heavy favorite going into a competition?

Don't know, Rory?

Let me try the second question. Do you think waking a sleeping giant is a particularly smart thing to do?

Still don't have an answer?

Last question. Do you remember what happened to Stephen Ames and Rory Sabbatini when they called out Tiger Woods?


Rory, you failed. The answers were:

1. When you are a heavy favorite, you don't give your competition any reason to fight. You don't stir the pot.

2. It is best to leave the giant sleeping.

3. Ames and Sabbatini ended up wishing they hadn't.

When Rory McIlroy decided to tell the world he wanted Tiger Woods to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team because no one on the Euro team feared him, Colin Montgomerie must have rolled his big Scottish eyes and cringed. Colin would know better.

Colin Montgomerie, the captain of the European Ryder Cup squad, knows his team is a heavy favorite to win back the cup. American golf hasn't had such a tough year in ages—not only in major championships, but in many of the PGA events throughout the year.

The Euros own golf right now, and they know it. And what do you do when you're a heavy favorite heading into an event like the Ryder Cup? You don't, under any circumstances, light a fire under your opponent.

Yet that is exactly what McIlroy's comments did, despite whatever ill-conceived reason he had for opening his mouth in the first place.

Tiger Woods is going to make the U.S, team, and it has nothing to do with anything Rory McIlroy says or doesn't say. Therefore, McIlroy is going to get his wish. He and his comrades will indeed get to play Tiger Woods.

Be careful what you wish for.

Tiger is about as down and out as he's ever been, and ever likely to be. His swing is in renovation and his confidence is low. How do you keep him there? You don't stir him up. You don't give him a reason to regain that edge.

Perhaps the greatest golfer the world has ever known is stuck in his own private nightmare. He hasn't been able to wake himself from it. The last thing you really want to do if you are 21-year-old Rory McIlroy is wake Tiger up from that nightmare.

Rory, you should have let him sleep.

"I would love to face him," McIlroy told the BBC. "Unless his game rapidly improves...I think anyone in the European team would fancy their chances against him."

Colin Montgomerie's first major act as captain of this team should be to silence his squad from making anymore of these kinds of statements.

And his second job might be to figure out a way to keep Rory McIlroy from going head to head against Tiger Woods in Wales.

Just a suggestion.