Tiger Woods is the face of golf. He will always be like that.
For all the greatness in the Woods field, he – like Michael Jordan – Rarely stand out as a champion for reasons greater than the game. He has been apolitical, playing golf with Republicans and Democrats. Never shake a boat, usually choose to cross into waters that are not directly connected to the game of golf. It rarely becomes a voice for other players to follow when world events destroy the bubbles of special golfers and the PGA Tour often finds themselves wrapped up.
That was not a blow against Woods. That is the decision. But golf, a game that has been outdated for decades, needs sound for the current era.
Rory McIlroy has shown himself to be a leader golf and voice – a sport that has problems arriving in the 21st century – needs its stars. He spoke again on Wednesday when he was criticizing President Donald Trump response and attitude to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
“We are in the midst of something quite serious at the moment and the fact that he is trying to politicize it and make it a campaign and say we do most of the tests in the world like that is a contest – there is something that’s just terrible,” McIlroy, who will play sunday on TaylorMade Driving Relief PT’s 11am skin match at NBC and Golf Channel, said the McKellar Podcast. “That’s not the way a leader should act. There’s a kind of diplomacy that you have to have, and I don’t think he shows it – especially at times like this.”
McIlroy has played golf with Trump in the past and said he respected the office and did not want to cross into the waters of American politics. But as the world faces an ongoing public health crisis, and McIlroy and his fellow players prepare to return to the program in June, the world’s No. 1 golfer feels the need to talk and says he doesn’t think he will. be golf with Trump again.
McIlroy, who came from Northern Ireland from its humble beginnings, has increasingly used his platform as the biggest non-Tiger golf star to tackle important problems avoided by other players.
The four-time lead champion calls up Muirfield golf club in 2017 for waiting that long to allow women to play golf on a famous course, calling it “obscene.” Earlier this year, when other stars such as Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka chose to take a handsome payday to play in Saudi Arabia, McIlroy turned down an offer of $ 2.5 million they made amid shouts that royal authorities were trying to ” sportswash “their suppression of women’s rights and the rights of ethnic minorities.
“You can say that about so many countries, not only Saudi Arabia, but many countries that we play that there is a reason not to go, but for me, I just don’t want to go. One hundred percent, there is morality too, “McIlroy said.
When the prospect of leaving the PGA to join the newly emerging Premier Golf League, McIlroy was the first to shoot the idea of joining the league with 60 shareholders, the Saudi Public Investment Fund among them.
“Cheap money. Money is the easy part. That should not be a motivating factor, “McIlroy said in March. “For some people, this is us professional golfers and we are here to play golf to make a living, but in the end, I respect my freedom and autonomy for everything.
“I want to be on the right side of history with this one, like Arnold [Palmer] is with the whole thing Greg Norman in the 90s, “McIlroy said. “I value a lot more than money, and that’s kind of my attitude at the moment.”
Immediately after the statement, other top players – including Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm – followed McIlroy by saying they would not join PGL either, effectively leaving the league dead on arrival. Koepka, who has a novice competition with McIlroy, even call world No.1 to discuss decisions.
McIlroy drop off the point of the house a week later at Arnold Palmer Invitational.
“I don’t really like where the money is coming from, and I want to be the first to oppose it, and I’m glad I have it,” McIlroy said.
When every other sports league was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan announced the tour would continue without fans. After the opening round of the PLAYERS ‘Championship, McIlroy disagreed with the decision and requested a tour to test each player, caddy and employee and to postpone all games if there was one positive test.
“We have to turn it off,” McIlroy said March 12 when asked what to do if someone on the tour test tested positive for COVID-19. “And that’s the problem, more than anything: We need to get, everyone needs to be tested. … I think for us to continue playing on the Tour, all Tour players and people involved need to be tested and ensure that no one gets it. Because, obviously, everyone knows you can have it and have no symptoms and pass it on to someone who is more prone to be very ill because of it. “
A few hours later, Monahan, with encouragement from the world’s number one player, turned around, canceled THE PLAYERS and delayed playing indefinitely, citing Disney World’s closure and worries from top players as reasons to change his decision. McIlroy’s comments are undoubtedly a driving factor in making PGA in line with every other sport.
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Golf and PGA have fallen behind their counterparts on almost every occasion for decades. The stars are satisfied with the status quo, do not want to ruffle feathers or shake the boat. Sports has optical problems that cannot be shaken. It is related to wealth, privileges and exclusivity. The PGA did not issue a “caucasian only” provision in its regulations until 1961, and women had to fight to become members of some of the most prestigious clubs in the world until the 21st century.
Golf has never been seen as a sport for everyone and anyone. His best ambassador never chose to help him grow with the people who had passed him. That is good enough for golf to survive and thrive – especially thanks to Woods’ historic dominance.
While Woods’ return to glory has sparked renewed interest in the game, golf also needs a voice for the current climate.
McIlroy, now 31, feels comfortable with who he is, his personal journey and the obstacles he has overcome and he has shown that he can become a much needed golf leader to progress and develop when the world changes.
There is no fence with McIlroy. He understood the power of his platform and the gravity of his words.
Rory McIlroy will continue to be on the right side of history, and the game of golf is in good hands following the example of his greatest leader.
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