Blog Entry

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

Posted on: December 7, 2011 2:59 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 3:03 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. -- If you’ve ever been to the U.K. and dined in a restaurant – and lived to talk about it – you probably noticed a vaguely labeled, mysterious bottle parked near the salt and pepper shakers.

It’s something called Brown Sauce, and the Brits use it liberally to cover up the occasional shortcomings of their food selections.

Effective Wednesday, world No. 1 Luke Donald was sprinkling it on his transcript from the Dubai World Championship and being asked to eat his words.

Locked in a duel for the European Tour money title with world No. 2 Rory McIlroy, Donald said the young Northern Irishman, 22, was more talented than any player he had ever seen. It took, oh, about 10 seconds for those comments to go viral, prompting a barrage of incredulous attacks on Donald – who turned 34 on Wednesday – via his Twitter account.

Donald felt compelled to explain himself, too. First, here's what he said in his interview session on the eve of the European Tour's richest event and season finale.

"I’ve always said that of the guys I've played with, Rory has the most talent," he said. "I see him winning lots of tournaments and lots of majors."

That list of pairing partners would include Woods.

"I believe so, yeah, just in a pure talent," Donald said. "I know Tiger is very, very close and obviously I think Tiger's work ethic has always been tremendous, and his mindset, as well. I think his mindset is what has separated himself from the field when he was really at the top of the game. 

"But in terms of talent, I think Rory has more talent."

Woods, 35, has 71 career victories on the PGA Tour alone. Last weekend, McIlroy won his fourth worldwide title in Hong Kong.

"Rory showed the world how great he can be when he won the U.S. Open," Donald said. "That was an unbelievable way to play in a major event and finish it off like he did. He's young and has a great future ahead of him."

Woods has a more uncertain trajectory, to be sure, but Donald was carved up pretty good and spent some time Wednesday night trying to explain himself on Twitter. In reverse chronological order, so that the Tweets make more sense in written form, Donald defended his statements as some in the Twitter universe came at him with pitchforks in hand.

“A few people aren't understanding what I meant," he wrote. "The word talent and Rory to me means a free flowing swing who makes everything look so easy.

“TW has always been the best at getting the ball in the hole when it mattered the most. That's not just talent [that's] something else too....

“Talent can only take you so far, you need the right attitude (mindset) and application to perform at the highest level....

“… never try to disrespect Tiger in any way. He is still the greatest player I have played with.”

So, if we're splitting hairs correctly, Woods is the greatest because of his mental toughness, but Rory is the most inherently talented and physically gifted.

Truth be told, no matter how Donald’s opinion is parsed, he’s hardly the first guy who has taken a stance on Woods lately, joining Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Steve Williams and others who have offered less-than-glowing predictions about the former world No. 1’s future.


Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: December 12, 2011 9:16 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

Just parsing some semantics here:  "Everyone has a right to their own opinion."  At face value it's true, but what's implied is that every opinion has equal value.  That is most definitely NOT true.  I think Mr. Donald has had enough success in golf to give his opinion more weight than the average joe hacker on this board.  And as a coach who has watched some kids squander natural talent, while others have great success just on sheer work ethic and willpower, I can understand exactly what he means.  Frankly, there were better athletes in the league during Michael Jordan's career, players that could have been more dominant than him if they had had their heads on straight (Shawn Kemp for one).  Just my opinion -- but it's better than yours!  Lol!

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: December 12, 2011 7:39 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

When all is said and done Rory and Luke together will not win as many as Tiger has already won. Besides that talk is cheap.

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: December 12, 2011 4:01 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

I also agree.  Everyone has the right to their opinion and there's no correct answer to the question, 'who has more natural talent'.  I myself am excited to see Tiger starting to look more like the Tiger of old as it will make this year very fun to watch.  Would love to see him re-establish domination and get the US back on top of the world rankings.  Because right now, based on the past few seasons, Rory has done much better as evidenced by his #2 world ranking.  More talent?  I would have to disagree because I've seen Tiger throughout his career and he hits shots that others, all with exceptional talent, wouldn't even consider trying in competition with all the marbles on the line (except Mickelson maybe).  The reason Tiger has faltered over the past few years is that his personal chaos drastically affected his mental game.  Never seen any golfer in history make the clutch shots when needed like Tiger and that was obviously part talent but mostly mental.  If he needed a 40' putt with a 10' left to right break on 18 to win or tie, he seemed to always make it.  He hasn't had that mental edge the past few years but showed a glimpse at Chevron.  But as a golf fan, I'm happy to watch this all play out in the coming years!

Since: Oct 15, 2009
Posted on: December 12, 2011 3:48 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

Isn't McEllory the same Chap who chocked at the Masters when TIGER took third place and Rory fell to 30th.....after being 1st..

That's talent...

Talent includes mental toughness, physical and mental ability and Roy is still developing those things so to say he is more talented than TIGER is crap...

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: December 12, 2011 11:18 am

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

Tiger won the 1997 Masters and the 2000 UP OPEN by a combined 27 strokes -  When he won the Tiger-Slam he won those event by a combined 26 strokes -  McElroy, talent and "potential" will never result in numbers anywhere even CLOSE to what Tiger accomplished.  It ridiculous to make such and asinne statement as Donald did whether it was taken out of context or not -   McElroy has a beautiful swing and is an amzing talent, but say he has more talent that TW is just ABSURD.  

Since: Nov 3, 2011
Posted on: December 12, 2011 7:55 am

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

la2r - couldn't agree with you more. Talent means natural ability, there is nothing wrong with Donald to think Rory has more natural ability than Tiger. He was also very clear that he thinks Tiger is the best he has ever played with. I can't understand why people have a problem with this, it is his opinion, it's not something that is right or wrong. We can only agree or disagree, but please people stop putting words in Donald's mouth and making something out of nothing just because it involves Tiger.

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: December 12, 2011 1:55 am

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

It would be nice if a guy could make a statement that isn't taken completely out of context for once.  Everybody on this board is putting words in Donald's mouth and creating their own strawman argument.  Donald's statement is perfectly clear-  "He believes" Rory has more "potential." This has nothing to do with being a complete player because of the mental aspect. Having more potential is essentially irrelevant.  As somebody did state, Lebron probably has more "potential" than Michael Jordan but in terms of the mental aspect, he pales.

Seriously, what is anybody even bent out of shape about.  The whole idea of comparing wins or etc is totally and completely irrelevant.  This was a completely legitimate opinion/statement and while it can be argued a bit, hardly anybody is arguing the correct question here. 

Since: Dec 2, 2007
Posted on: December 11, 2011 10:05 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

Everyone that compares McIIroy to Tiger should let him win a few first! There are loads of talented athletes that never reached their potential because of what's between the ears. So gimme a break with just identifying talent!! It's the whole package that should be considered!! ..... So go use some more of that brown sauce!!

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: December 11, 2011 9:01 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

yeah LeBron's a much better example than Kwame Brown. That was a bad example.

But even if Luke Donald has no basis whatsoever to make that comparison, which it sounds like he doesn't if he never played with Tiger when Tiger was Rory's age, I don't think you can extrapolate Luke Donald's failures as an evaluator of other golfers to his performance on the links.

Since: Mar 29, 2009
Posted on: December 11, 2011 4:44 pm
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