Rory Wrong to Say Masters is Biggest and Best Major
WHEN Rory McIlroy walks down the 72nd fairway on Sunday, July 22, remember the following words: "I don’t care about the US Open or The Open Championship. The Masters is the biggest tournament in the world. It has the most amount of eyeballs, the most amount of hype. The most amount of everything is at Augusta.” With all due respect Rory – poppycock. And what’s more, you know it.
You have to wonder if the Northern Irishman would be saying the same thing if the US Open or The Open provided the missing piece in his quest for a career grand slam. Let’s get something straight Rory. The Masters is a fantastic tournament that is played on an iconic golf course in April every year. It is the first major of the season and everybody who cares about golf tunes in to watch it – and millions more who don’t know one end of a golf club from the other.
But how can it possibly be the biggest tournament in the world when the starting field consists of 80-90 players, a huge proportion of whom have absolutely no chance of winning. Just stop and think about it for a moment – many of the field are former champions over the age of 50, the likes of Ian Woosnam, Jose Maria Olazabal, Bernhard Langer, Vijay Singh, Fred Couples and Sandy Lyle. Throw in a few others who are still the right side of 50, such as Trevor Immelman and Mike Weir, and then add the amateurs and when you come right down to it, you can pretty much guarantee that the winner will come from a group of maybe 10–15 golfers.
No matter how you add it up, that does not amount to the biggest tournament in the world. The field at The Open and US Open consists of 156 players and if you take a look at the history of those tournaments you will know that some pretty unlikely winners have emerged over the years – Orville Moody, Todd Hamilton, Ben Curtis, Andy North. The list goes on.
McIlroy, of course, threw away a great chance to win the 2018 Masters when both his driver and putter turned stone cold on the final day. He more or less gave up after nine holes, allowing Patrick Reed to disappear into the distance and end up being chased down by Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm. By his own admission, he was bitterly disappointed with his own performance and has struggled to get over it. He has been unable to shake the feeling of yet another chance at a Green Jacket having slipped away. He headed home to Florida and tried reading books, binge-watching television, and even drinking wine. Nothing worked.
"It was just the quiet moments when you’re staring off into the distance and you’re thinking about a certain shot or a certain putt," McIlroy said. "It got to the point where I needed to see a bit of daylight and get outside and go for walks and start to do my usual thing." Eventually, McIlroy's wife Erica intervened, forcing him to leave the house and get back to a normal routine.
While he may not have won, McIlroy said he was holding his game together at Augusta National. He even described the 65 he scored in the third round as lucky, and praised Reed for his ability to keep his cool and focus on the job in hand down the stretch. "The Masters has become the biggest golf tournament in the world and I’m comfortable saying that," McIlroy said. "I don’t care about the U.S. Open or The Open Championship. It is the biggest tournament in the world. It has the most amount of eyeballs, the most amount of hype. The most amount of everything is at Augusta."
McIlroy, remember, is the man who suggested that the Ryder Cup was nothing more than an exhibition event. He changed his tune after he had played in it for the first time. He is also the golfer who said he would not play in the golf tournament at the 2016 Olympic Games, saying that he did not feel any responsibility for helping to grow the game – a strange thing to say for somebody who is so handsomely rewarded for his efforts by both his sponsors and from the prize money he earns on both the PGA and European Tours.
He is, without doubt, the most naturally gifted golfer on the planet, but he really needs to stop and think more often before he opens his mouth in public.
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