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"Moving the needle" and Rory vs. Rickie vs. Tiger


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We all know Tiger is the only universally captivating player in golf.  Tiger's practice rounds get more discussion on the forum than once-in-a-lifetime performances by other players--even the "greats" of today.  Yesterday, Rory shot a course-record 61 on the 7500-yd monster that is Quail Hollow.  Last Sunday, Rickie played the final 6 holes at the TPC Sawgrass in 6 under par to get into a playoff, and then shot 2-under in the playoff to beat Sergio Garcia (and some other dude) to win the 5th major in dramatic fashion.

Rickie's performance generated about 10 pages of discussion.  Half of those pages were about his girlfriend's shorts.  Rory's performance got a dozen posts.  I'm not sure anyone on the forum would dispute that Rory is the better golfer--the best in the world, in fact--and that his A game would crush any current player.  (I personally think Rickie's close at the Players was a better performance than Rory's 61 at Quail Hollow.)

So what gives?  Is Rickie's style that warranting of discussion?  Tiger never had style (unless you consider crushing your competition, seeing them out-driven before you, and hearing the lamentations of their women a "style").  Sure, Rickie's girlfriend is hot, but Rory has a bikini model in the stable for every trophy in his case.

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If Rory was an American, it'd be a much different story. He'd be marketed in the US in a totally different way. It's kinda like soccer. If Lionel Messi was an American, he'd help boost the ratings of soccer more in the US. The fact he's European means he's just not going to move the needle the way Tiger did and even Jordan will if he keeps moving in the right direction.

I'm not ready to put Rickie in the same sentence as Rory. While last week was impressive, he still has just two wins and zero majors to his resume. Rory is about add his 10th PGA win and he has four majors on his, not to mention another dozen or so tourney wins across the pond. I was ready to put Jordan in the same sentence, but watching Rory play the last few weeks, he's not there yet, either.

I don't know if Rickie will be the ratings machine people think. While his style and pizazz are definitely a plus for the game, I don't know if his game from last week can show up on a more regular basis. I truly hope it can because he's good for the game, but I have my doubts. A lot will depend on his drive and desire. I think the poll was a wake up call for him and really motivated him. But step 1 is he needs to win some more tournaments, in particular a major.

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We all know Tiger is the only universally captivating player in golf.  Tiger's practice rounds get more discussion on the forum than once-in-a-lifetime performances by other players--even the "greats" of today.  Yesterday, Rory shot a course-record 61 on the 7500-yd monster that is Quail Hollow.  Last Sunday, Rickie played the final 6 holes at the TPC Sawgrass in 6 under par to get into a playoff, and then shot 2-under in the playoff to beat Sergio Garcia (and some other dude) to win the 5th major in dramatic fashion.

Rickie's performance generated about 10 pages of discussion.  Half of those pages were about his girlfriend's shorts.  Rory's performance got a dozen posts.  I'm not sure anyone on the forum would dispute that Rory is the better golfer--the best in the world, in fact--and that his A game would crush any current player.  (I personally think Rickie's close at the Players was a better performance than Rory's 61 at Quail Hollow.)

So what gives?  Is Rickie's style that warranting of discussion?  Tiger never had style (unless you consider crushing your competition, seeing them out-driven before you, and hearing the lamentations of their women a "style").  Sure, Rickie's girlfriend is hot, but Rory has a bikini model in the stable for every trophy in his case.

I think that in any sport, the "needle movers" are the ones who make news before they make it to the "show".  Other people may develop into HOF players but they never get the same attention as the person who was talked about since he was 12.

And I don't understand the attention his girlfriend gets. Beautiful women aren't very rare; I see them all over the damn place.

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I haven't watched a single second of this week's tournament. The season is way too long and after a pretty good marathon watching of the Players, I needed a break. It's a shame PGA is so oversaturated with tournments week after week  -practically from October to October. I usually don't watch events on the tube after the Players until the next majors,  then maybe the Tour Championship if nothing else is on worth watching (NFL, MLB).

So for me, it has nothing to do with Rory, but more to do with too much PGA this season for me. (I attended three events, watching wire to wire Masters), and followed many of the other televised events to date - time for break.

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Rory shot 61 yesterday. I'll watch this afternoon, because when he's playing this well, I have to watch. This kind of command doesn't show up too often.

Rickie is good, a nice guy, but his style of play doesn't captivate me.

Tiger, a universally captivating player? Only if you want to watch him make five birdies and still turn in a 71.

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Interesting topic, psychologically. A quick opinion:

Rory has played on the Tour for 5 years, and people generally acknowledge his great talent and skill, and as the most dominating player today when the putter is working. He only lacks consistent dominance. His public persona is admirable -- nice guy, head screwed on right, sense of humor. Being a US citizen would help his "move the needle" factor here, but golf is more of a world game now. He doesn't have the "flair" factor, just a great game.

Ho-hum, good guy dominance.

Ricky has flair, flair, a nice game, and an excellent public persona. He has great talent, skill, is a US Citizen -- I think there is a tendency for people to want him to dominate. Only Rickie knows how much he wants to work at the game. And even if he works more, there is no guarantee of domination.

Fun, carefree.

Tiger - corporate image and persona is somewhat cold, although it is warming up. A dominant consistent force for so long. His accomplishments are in the stratosphere. I think most like a dominant player and enjoy watching greatness in the game -- and Tiger was the guy for 12-13 years. His game had gobs of flair and drama . He could turn a 76 into a 68 like no one else.  He may still be the guy, and so even though he seems to play as if he is semi-retired, people crave that greatness. He generates discussion and controversy.

Monstrous legacy, unknown future...

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Rory shot 61 yesterday. I'll watch this afternoon, because when he's playing this well, I have to watch. This kind of command doesn't show up too often.

Rickie is good, a nice guy, but his style of play doesn't captivate me.

Tiger, a universally captivating player? Only if you want to watch him make five birdies and still turn in a 71.

You know, we get it.  You can't stand Tiger.  You've never said a decent word about him since you've been here.  That doesn't alter the fact that he is the one player whose name is known and recognized worldwide, and not only by golfers.  He still moves the golf needle like nobody has since Arnie was in his prime.

If Tiger is unable to regain his form, then that will change, but for the moment, he is still golf's gold standard.

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So what gives?  Is Rickie's style that warranting of discussion?  Tiger never had style (unless you consider crushing your competition, seeing them out-driven before you, and hearing the lamentations of their women a "style").  Sure, Rickie's girlfriend is hot, but Rory has a bikini model in the stable for every trophy in his case.

Tiger always had tremendous style. Nike made sure he was the best looking golfer out there. That Sunday Black and Red is the most iconic golf fashion in the games' history. It's just a shame they let Patrick Reed go out and ruin it. Some of the old Tiger commercials were also very funny and highlighted Tiger's charisma, nothing like what you've seen from Rickie and Rory.

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Rory has played on the Tour for 5 years, and people generally acknowledge his great talent and skill, and as the most dominating player today when the putter is working. He only lacks consistent dominance. His public persona is admirable -- nice guy, head screwed on right, sense of humor. Being a US citizen would help his "move the needle" factor here, but golf is more of a world game now. He doesn't have the "flair" factor, just a great game. Ho-hum, good guy dominance. Ricky has flair, flair, a nice game, and an excellent public persona. He has great talent, skill, is a US Citizen -- I think there is a tendency for people to want him to dominate. Only Rickie knows how much he wants to work at the game. And even if he works more, there is no guarantee of domination

meh, the only "flair" Rickie has going is his outfit and occasional random music video or dirtbike stunt. Hes a robot on the course and not in a impressive intimidating way like Henrik. I like Rickie but he could really use a fist pump or hell, any sign of human emotion once and a while. Tiger had it all, loved seeing him walk...no run in putts. Always Kept things exciting.

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If Rory was an American, it'd be a much different story. He'd be marketed in the US in a totally different way. It's kinda like soccer. If Lionel Messi was an American, he'd help boost the ratings of soccer more in the US. The fact he's European means he's just not going to move the needle the way Tiger did and even Jordan will if he keeps moving in the right direction.

I'm not ready to put Rickie in the same sentence as Rory. While last week was impressive, he still has just two wins and zero majors to his resume. Rory is about add his 10th PGA win and he has four majors on his, not to mention another dozen or so tourney wins across the pond. I was ready to put Jordan in the same sentence, but watching Rory play the last few weeks, he's not there yet, either.

I don't know if Rickie will be the ratings machine people think. While his style and pizazz are definitely a plus for the game, I don't know if his game from last week can show up on a more regular basis. I truly hope it can because he's good for the game, but I have my doubts. A lot will depend on his drive and desire. I think the poll was a wake up call for him and really motivated him. But step 1 is he needs to win some more tournaments, in particular a major.

FYI.  He's an Argentine but plays for a Spanish team.

With regards to Rory, I think he does move the needle probably more than Rickie, IMHO, but not as much as Tiger.

Maybe Rory needs better PR firm in the U.S.

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until Tiger is gone for good, it will always be like this. Even a 55 yr old TW who hasn't made a cut in 2 yrs. I love golf, but except for Majors, no Tiger= I am watching very little if at all. Part of the problem is there is always "the next tiger ". Sorry guys ,there is no next Tiger.
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You know, we get it.  You can't stand Tiger.  You've never said a decent word about him since you've been here.  That doesn't alter the fact that he is the one player whose name is known and recognized worldwide, and not only by golfers.  He still moves the golf needle like nobody has since Arnie was in his prime.

If Tiger is unable to regain his form, then that will change, but for the moment, he is still golf's gold standard.


Oh, Fourputt. You never disappoint me. The guy who this year so far finished fifth from last in the Players, and didn't finish two other tournaments (OK, I'll give you 17th in the Masters) is the gold standard of golf? Really?

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Oh, Fourputt. You never disappoint me. The guy who this year so far finished fifth from last in the Players, and didn't finish two other tournaments (OK, I'll give you 17th in the Masters) is the gold standard of golf? Really?

Read what he wrote, and read the first post too.

We get an order of magnitude more posts about Tiger Woods than anyone else, including Rory when he was on a tear last fall. Even right now. Even when Tiger was MCing and WDing.

The "gold standard" @Fourputt was talking about isn't about his play.

Nobody - and it's not even close - in golf moves the needle to this day like Tiger Woods.

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I agree with others, if Rory was a US player then he'd be getting more hype but his personality isn't like Tigers.  Tiger was like a gladiator, he didn't seem to like anyone and he saw his job as destroying his competition either by making shots or intimidating them (regardless of whether it worked or not).  People love an anti-hero and Tiger played the role near perfectly.  He also had Phil to play the hero which made for great drama, the way Ali and Frazier did in boxing years ago.

Rory, Jordan and Rickie are nice guys, they smile a lot, chat and joke with their playing partners but you get the sense they're just out there to have fun and hopefully win.  Even when Rory shot a 61 yesterday, he was just a nice guy shooting 61, there was no sense he was trying to step on Simpsons neck and choke him out.

Reed and DJ could be great anti-heros but they need to get their game to the next level.  If Reed or DJ does step up then that will give Rory, Rickie or Jordan an opportunity to be the next Phil who doesn't move the needle as much as Tiger but more than anyone else.

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I think Rory moves the needle more than Rickie. Just using a TST forum as the barometer isn't quite fair. The fact that Rickie's performance was in the final round, really the final 6 holes and he came outta nowhere to win it is the reason there was a lot of traffic on it. I guess you might also say it was due to the fact it was only his 2nd win. Rory is the man today (2nd to Tiger for a bit longer) in terms of needle movement.
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Quote:

We get an order of magnitude more posts about Tiger Woods than anyone else, including Rory when he was on a tear last fall. Even right now. Even when Tiger was MCing and WDing.

The "gold standard" @Fourputt was talking about isn't about his play.

Nobody - and it's not even close - in golf moves the needle to this day like Tiger Woods.

With regard to posts, that only matters if a forum like this is also indicative of the attitudes of golf watchers who do not post to this forum or one like it. I suspect that isn't the case.

That point aside, I do think the "Tiger moving the needle" thing is firmly into its final phase.

Sporting heroes tend to be venerated by their own generations, or, usually, those a little younger than the sportsman himself. Tiger was so incredibly significant that he seemed to become the standard bearer for everyone from late Boomers, through Generation X, and also the early Millennials.

But for any teenagers watching golf today - well, they're not turning up or tuning in to watch Tiger rack up regular wins on tour, are they? There was a rather nice moment today when Faldo (commentating) noted all the young people around the 1st tee, who had turned out to watch Rory's drive. The generation has turned: to those kids, when they are teenagers in a few years time, Tiger will likely just be a "name" like Jack, or Arnie, or Seve. But the people they tune into watch will be Rory, Rickie, Jordan...

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With regard to posts, that only matters if a forum like this is also indicative of the attitudes of golf watchers who do not post to this forum or one like it. I suspect that isn't the case.

You're probably right, but in the opposite direction you seem to think.

The average golfer is less likely to give a crap about Rickie or Rory than Tiger. The average golfer, if forced to post, would probably post TWO orders of magnitude more about Tiger than the others.

Yes, things will change eventually… but we're talking about 2015 here, so things haven't begun changing significantly yet.

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Ratings aside, it's been pretty fun the last month or so watching these guys respond to each other. McIlroy had a rough start to the year and Spieth stepped up and won the Masters. McIlroy puts on his game face and responds with a win at the Match Play. Fowler says "I'm ready to join this party" and wins the Players. And McIlroy comes back this week and says "I'm still the best" and is dominating Wells Fargo. It's fun. What's going to be interesting is if Spieth fires back these next couple weeks in his back yard in Texas and gets at least one win.

I think what'll get ratings going up is if Rory starts to rack up some more majors. I don't think he'll ever win as many PGA titles as Tiger because he's not as consistent and he plays a lot overseas, but I think he has an outside shot at catching Tiger in majors if he can keep this pace going for 5-10 more years. He can be dominant, it's just a matter of whether he can be consistent, which I think he's slowly starting to do. And if he can get a couple majors this summer on courses that more than suit his game, I think you'll start to see the ESPNs hype him up more.

And like or hate ESPN, they're the ones that dictate the needle. People watch SportsCenter and go to espn.com. It's one reason I'm going to miss the US Open leaving ESPN/NBC because ESPN gave the US Open a lot of coverage and marketed it well. Most people don't know where FoxSports 1 is on their dial. But If ESPN starts hyping you up, people will watch. They'll put Rory as the 4th or 5th story right now whereas Tiger would always be 1 or 2.

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