Sean O'Shea by Sean O'Shea
How Rory McIlroy faced down the Tiger Woods legend ---too young to be intimidated by former king
Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 01:55 AM
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Rory McIlroy hails from Holywood County Down, literally "the Holy Wood' and it is a strange coincidence that he destroyed Tiger Woods as the undisputed king of golf last Sunday.
The New York Times carried an incredible piece of journalism which threads together the relationship between Woods and Mcilroy over the past few seasons.
As Woods was in decline and McIlroy began coming forward a wary respect grew up between the two men the Times reports.
Key to the relationship however was that McIlroy refused to be intimidated by Woods who had sent fear through every one of his contemporaries when his name appeared on the leaderboard.
The Times instances one incident when Woods was as usual practising on the putting green before a major tournament. All the other players on the tour were giving him a very wide berth intimidated by his very presence.
McIlroy , a young and fearless gun if ever there was one, strolled over to Woods, invaded his space and chatted away amiably to him. At one point both men burst into a fit of laughter.
It was an amazing scene as the Woods aura was punctured by a player too young and too naive to know any better.
Rory McIlroy's profile page - more stories, photos and bio
Rory McIlroy – a Holywood star made in the American newspapers
Rory McIlroy, of the full head of hair, finally gets his reward at the US Open
McIlroy also made it clear that the Woods mystique never scared him off.
“When Tiger had that aura, I wasn’t playing against him — I was watching on TV. I’m not sure we are going to see him dominate again the way he did.”
McIlroy later added, “He’s playing like an ordinary golfer."
Leave it to McIlroy to say the emperor has had no clothes for quite some time.
The Times imagines Woods at home resting his leg last Sunday watching his world of supremacy finally collapse.
"You had to wonder what he was thinking, watching on television with his balky left leg propped on a hassock. There on the screen, in highlights viewed nonstop around the world, his kingdom was being overrun. His once mighty empire, already wounded and weakened, was beginning to seem antiquated and outmoded — so last decade, so last century.
As Rory McIlroy made it look easy at the 111th United States Open, even easier than Tiger Woods once did, what was Woods thinking?
For nearly 18 months, golf has been transfixed by Tiger’s comeback, Tiger’s health, Tiger’s lifestyle and Tiger’s swing changes. Today, as McIlroy storms the gates of golf’s hierarchy — part wunderkind, part new age pioneer — Woods finds himself mentioned only in postscript."
Move over Tiger there's a new king in town.