Re: Rory McIlroy is overrated...
Originally Posted by Tiger Spuds
I feel Hogan is actual the "anti-example" to Rory. Hogan didn't really have inherent talent, and he had to obsessive work at it to build that talent. He practiced incessantly, literally until his hands bled. He'd spend hours on the course mapping out exactly how to play each hole. He so hated to lose that he'd be a miserable SOB to be around for days anytime he did (instead of the normal SOB when he won). Hogan was really a good example of "the harder I work the luckier I get". Hogan's was in many ways a very flawed man, and it was those flaws that made him such a winner. In a way, Tiger is similar - he is intensely driven to win, not so much because he loves winning but because he hates losing so much, and we saw some of his flaws exposed over the last year.
Rory hasn't yet shown this fire. Perhaps he never will, as he is likely a much better balanced person than Hogan or the contemporary example such as Tiger. As I indicated in an earlier post, following Rory at Pebble we saw his practice round prep consisted of walking the course without seeming purpose, emailing car pictures to his friends. Can you picture Hogan doing that?
I'll make a real simplistic breakdown of today's Tour players, and it is of course oversimplifying and perhaps unfairly categorizing many players, but I think it will make a point, so here goes. In the #1 category, there are a few rare players that are so driven to win that it dominates their lives sometimes at all costs, and they put in a near-superhuman effort to get there. And their drive to win isn't because they love the satisfaction of winning, they just really really hate to lose. Tiger is a classic example. Hogan too, Nicklaus, probably Faldo, Player, Phil (earlier on, perhaps not so now), etc. They tend to deliver when the challenge is the toughest. All sports have people that fit this category; Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were classics in that both have said they didn't really like winning, it was just their intense dislike of losing (especially to each other) that drove them to win.
Category #2 is a group who have a lot of talent but perhaps not the extraordinary drive. They love to win - they get satisfaction from it, it is their motivation and scratches that deep personality need, but they don't want to kill themselves if they don't win. They probably grew up with seemingly unnatural talent, kind of seemed lucky to just "have it", and as a result they had a lot of success at the junior and/or collegiate golf level. On Tour, they can be contenders if everything falls their way, but they make a good living. Yeah, they could practice twice as hard and win a little more, but it just isn't worth the personal sacrifice. They're still winners, have family, lives, friends, admiration, and money. All of their Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs are well satisfied. Life is good, so why change?
And then #3, the journeymen, those that have some good talent but have to work really hard just to make a decent living playing golf. They already work hard to exist on Tour, and doubling their practice time just isn't feasible or would really make them that much better. They may break through every once in awhile when their lucky stars align, but they just have never a driven athlete in their life. Someone like Paul Goydos, Briney Baird, etc.
I think Rory fits category #2. He's got the talent, but hasn't had to work that hard to be a winner. Although he may love to win, he doesn't seem upset by losing. You won't find him needing to be consoled in the corner after coming up a shot short. He works hard enough to stay sharp and be really good, but he doesn't feel the need to dedicate every moment of his life to golf. He makes a great living, has an outside life, and is.......very comfortable.
My theory is that nearly any player who reaches the levels of a Hogan or Tiger really has some personality problems, and for a period of time in their life those problems are really what makes them succeed. For Rory to really vault into the upper echelon, he'll have to find something inside him that drives him differently, but I expect that doubtful as he probably just doesn't have the personality flaw in him that would turn him into an obsessive self-focused win-at-all-costs player.
So back to the over-hype and over-rated question, it seems to me that the press sort of just sees the talent and athletic ability, and doesn't really look to see if their "next Nicklaus" has what it takes to get there. Thus, they annoint any player that comes along with the swing and past record as the next great one. But they don't really assess if that player has the intangibles - are they out hitting balls well after dark as their hands bleed? Did they miss their mother's funeral because they missed putt #97 in their drill to sink 100 in a row and they had to start over and over? Do they show obsessive-compulsive behavior in other parts of their lives? If they're being expected to be the next Nicklaus without that intangible obsessiveness, then yes they'll always be over-rated. And when the press keeps talking about it again and again, they they are very over-hyped.
Ooops, didn't realize I'd typed that much - kudos if you're still reading!