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: Nov 3, 2011
Posted on: December 11, 2011 2:18 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

Green fingers - I'm not sure what I wrote that would suggest I didn't read your entire comment, or that I discount Tiger's talent and accomplishments? I'm plenty old enough to have watched Tiger's entire career and although golf is not my best sport (took it up in my late 20's) I likely know a ton more about athletic ability, potential talent, and mental toughness than most who write on this message board. Although I am not an Olympic Champion myself, I have competed against Olympic Champions and have also worked with a sports psychologist who's athletes included many Olympic Champions. Hell, I did my University thesis on the effects mental training has on the performance of elite athletes.

I responded to your initial post because you bashed Luke Donald for giving his honest opinion about Rory McIlroy's talent. In his view, Rory has more natural talent than Tiger. This is his opinion, you don't have to agree with it. But, you certainly don't have to go on to say he is overrated, doesn't know what he is talking about, and suggest that he is missing a key mental element that will keep him from being special. Sounds like you are the one with a dislike for Donald? Or, perhaps you are just another Tiger lover who can't handle it when others don't share the same opinions of him as you you do.   

By the way, I agree that Kwame Brown was not the best example to use. Grizzle32's example was better.  

Since: Feb 5, 2009
Posted on: December 11, 2011 12:47 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

RAC3398 -  Read my entire comment.  Persian Bolt's example is ridiculous, especially becuase he uses Kwame Brown as an example of talent.  Kwame Brown wasn't talented with regard to skills, he had athletic ability and a good physical body type.  Put another way, he had potential talent but was only a high schooler.  He never showed any real talent on the basketball court and certainly showed no mental toughness or wherewithal.  Donald is saying he thinks McIlroy is more talented than Tiger.  First, as I said, he never played with Tiger when he was McIlroy's age so he has no basis to comment on Tiger's talent. He only played with Tiger when Tiger dominated and supposed that Tiger's package was a mix of talent and mental toughness.  Fair enough, but he still has no basis to talk of Tiger's talent at a comparable age of McIlroy.  Plus, Donald doesn't even clarify what he means by "talent."  I think anyone who played with Tiger and McIlroy would unquestionably say Tiger is more talented.  He is not only physicallly capable of pulling off shots McIlroy can only dream of hitting, but mentally smart enough and steely enough to do it in tournament settings.  Recall that by McIlroy's age Tiger had already become the 1st player, and only to that point, to win back to back amateur championships.  And at McIlroy's age Tiger also wasn't choking away major championships, as McIlroy has done.  Maybe you're too young to have seen Tiger play at that age.  If not, then you clearly don't understand the meaning of athletic ability, potential talent, talent or mental toughness.  Maybe you, like it appears with Donald, dont' like Tiger as a person and discount his talent and accomplishments as a result.  If so, you as Donald should be willing to admit it.

Since: Nov 3, 2011
Posted on: December 11, 2011 8:24 am

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

Green fingers - Donald never said McIlroy was a better golfer than Tiger, he said that he thought he had more 'talent'. Do you not understand the difference? Read Persian-bolt's post, it will help you. And how can you say Donald is the most overrated #1? Being number one doesn't mean you have to be a dominant golfer like Tiger was, you simply have to be the best golfer in the world over a long enough period of time to accumulate more OWGR points than anyone else. 

Since: Feb 5, 2009
Posted on: December 11, 2011 12:29 am

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

Luke Donald may be the most overrated No. 1 ranked player in the past quarter century.  He clearly does not know what he's talking about.  And McIlroy will be lucky if he wins as many majors as Tom Watson.  At McIlroy's age Tiger was much better.  Donald also didn't play with Tiger when Tiger was McIlroy's age.  If he did, he probably wouldn't be making those comments.   Regardless, Donald's comments show that he is missing that something between the ears that might make him special.  

Since: Sep 30, 2006
Posted on: December 11, 2011 12:23 am

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

If talent is all it took to be a champion, LeBron would have some jewelry on his hands.  

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: December 10, 2011 11:16 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

Riegert8 - I think it's more the latter. The term "talent" in sport is often not synonymous with productivity. Kwame Brown, for example, was an unquestionably talented power forward. He just didn't have the mental wherewithal to put it all together. So because we can't really measure "talent" with productivity on the links, court, pitch, etc, it becomes more of a weak qualitiative descriptor instead of a quantifiable measure.

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: December 10, 2011 10:10 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

It's easy to say that Rory has the most talent then any player he has seen, Rory going have prove with his golf game that statement is true.   Or it's just another statement that has no proof to back it up

Since: Mar 17, 2010
Posted on: December 9, 2011 9:39 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

He should take some heat. Donald Duck is what we should now call him. A real quacker.   How long will he stay at the top?? Rory. Major choker, he is choking for the European money title right now. Between the Donald Duck and his pinhead side kick and the number of years they have been playing, how many majors?

Since: Apr 23, 2010
Posted on: December 9, 2011 7:20 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

I would pick Rory over Tiger now but in 30 years you would say Tiger was the better golfer.

Since: Dec 9, 2011
Posted on: December 9, 2011 10:13 am

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

Wood and Rory, as exceeding

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