U.S. Open champion Rory McIlory found himself in the headlines once again Thursday. This time, however, it was not for great on-course play.
Rather surprisingly, it was for off-course behavior.
Jay Townsend, an American golf analyst for the Golf Channel was not impressed by McIlroy's course management during the opening round of the Irish Open.
Townsend first criticized McIlroy during coverage of the event, but soon took his complains to Twitter. "McIlroy's course management was shocking," Townsend tweeted. That was nice compared to the next tweet, which said, ""some of the worst course management I have ever seen beyond under 10 boys' golf competition."
McIlroy, however, was not going to stand back and allow Townsend to take free shots at him and his caddy, J.P. Fitzgerald.
Also using Twitter, McIlroy responded, "Shut up...You're a commentator and a failed golfer, your opinion means nothing!" When Townsend said he stood by his comments, McIlroy tweeted, "Well, I stand by my caddie."
After the brief argument with Townsend, McIlroy told reporters, "He's been having a go at J.P. every now and again and this was the first time I've responded—it was the straw that broke the camel's back."
Many may criticize McIlroy for taking the bait and fighting with Townsend. Some may see it as childish and fruitless.
I, however, view the move as intelligent. By responding, McIlroy is telling everyone that he will not stand by and allow people to needlessly critique him or his caddy. It shows that there is fire inside McIlroy.
I just hope it drives him to go out tomorrow and make birdies. After all, golf needs a new star, and McIlroy is a perfect fit.