There is a big rush to compare golf's newest sensation to its most recent one. Sure, McIlroy's dominance this past weekend at the U.S. Open was reminiscent of Tiger Woods at his best, as he simply blew away the competition, but let's take a step back here before making those comparisons.
With his genial attitude and "aw shucks" demeanor, McIlroy is more like Danny Noonan, the fictional character from the classic golf comedy Caddyshack, than he is like Tiger Woods. Check this picture out and tell me you don't see a resemblance.
By all accounts, McIlroy is a humble, polite kid who just happened to wipe the floor with the game's best. His record-setting performance was one for the ages. Let's just not expect him to shatter Jack Nicklaus' records just yet.
Remember, the last 22-year-old to dominate a Masters event was immediately deemed the next great thing in golf, and the sport's biggest star. Humble he was not. He swore compulsively, and had a violent temper. Every sport has a "too much too soon" star, and with Woods' personal and professional struggles, Woods may be golf's.
McIlroy is virtually the same age as Woods was when he won his first Masters. He is younger than Jack Nicklaus was when he won his. Much like Noonan's performance against Judge Smails, he is beating the experienced heavyweights at their own game with nothing but a smile, frizzy hair popping out of a baseball cap, and a dynamite drive.
His ridiculous, back-spinning eagle on the eight hole at the U.S. Open may as well have had Chevy Chase "Shununununing" it into the cup, it seemed to have that kind of magic on it. And there was Phil Mickelson serving as Chase's Ty Webb, tipping his cap to the ecstatic youngster as he stole the show from the old boys.
The sport's last superstar ended up being a sex-addicted, arrogant, foul-mouthed jerk. Maybe he was all of those things pre-fame, maybe he wasn't. But being plastered over every magazine as the savior of the sport can't have helped. Let's not make the same mistake twice.