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: Dec 4, 2009
Posted on: December 9, 2011 4:51 am

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

Well, I don't see any conflict here _ Tiger is the greatest ever to play the game of golf, McIlroy can arguably be one of the most talented. Enough said.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: December 8, 2011 11:02 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

It's just His opinion folks. He has the right to state it. It doesn't make him right or wrong. Personally I think Tiger's 'A' game is far better than Rory's 'A' game. Rory does have a nice swing and it is effortless but his talent seems to only scare Donald. He will be good for a while but its waaaaayyy too early to say he has more talent than Tiger. Donald don't have to apologize because it's only his opinion. Once TW starts winning on a regular again and get the mystique back, then we will see if the young guns can handle the pressure of playing with/against TW when it's all on the line. I would love to see it because I'm not sure any of them have the mental toughness to play with TW once they have one bad hole or TW does something extraordinary and they have to follow.

Since: Dec 8, 2011
Posted on: December 8, 2011 8:35 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

I would like to direct Lanny H to the comment of Kingston_rick with regard to the respective accomplishments of Woods and McIlroy in their initial four years as pros, (how do YOU like them apples)? You hold Greg Norman in very high regard which indicates that you have a special place in your heart for players who crumble under pressure and fade like cheap wallpaper, there is no doubt that you must have an autographed photo of Jean Van de Velde.
Woods doesn't practice incessantly because he lacks "talent", his desire to excell is why he practices or perhaps you've never been familiar with the term "practice makes perfect". You state he practices because he wasn't born with the "native talent" of McIlroy, now just what the hell is "native talent? (rofl) and you state he has HAD a great career. There surely must be some water seeping around that rock you're living under!
It is evident that you are much more concerned with the guys personal life than with his golfing ability and probably resent the fact that rather than having been born into the opulence of a country club existence, he is the son of a soldier. Were his name H. Eldrick Woods IV you would love him.

Since: Oct 15, 2006
Posted on: December 8, 2011 8:01 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

Luke Donald knows a lot more about golf than I will ever know.  He also knows a lot more about golf than all the people, as someone else here put it, with their panties in a wad.  You would think Tiger was the Dalai Lama or something, the way some people worship him.  Luke Donald shouldn't waste one second apologizing or explaining his opinion.

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: December 8, 2011 6:54 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

Teres, like it or not, Rory already is the next golf superstar.  The media and fans love the kid.  And he gives them plenty of good, happy things to report like, say, his romance with the world's #1 tennis player.  This is fairytale stuff.

There is no racism when it comes to Woods.  The media and public have fawned over the guy since day one.  At his peak, he had a 91% popularity rating -- an unheard of number.

You know as well as everyone else here that Woods' problem is the scandal.  He was living a sickening lie of a life, and he alone is to blame.  I have zero pity or respect for him.  I will cry as many tears for billionaire Tiger Woods as I did for billionaire Jon Corzine at his hearing today.

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: December 8, 2011 6:19 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

Luke said nothing at all controversial.

I get a kick how the Tiger lemmings get their panties in a wad any time anyone compliments another player.  They are like 3-year-olds jealous of the infant Mom just brought home from the hospital.  You can't help but laugh.  Nicklaus was more successful than Woods (and a heckuva better human being!) and yet there was no mandated genuflection.

Luke was making the point I've made many times about Greg Norman.  I rate Norman as one of top all-time golfers -- especially compared to today's players -- for the reason that he didn't even take up the game until he was sixteen.  That is what you call TALENT.  Woods, with less talent, worked on it more.  To be frank, he sacrificed his mental health (thanks to his father) to become a good golfer.  Woods had to work hard at it, because he didn't have the native talent of a Norman or a McIlroy.  Woods did it a different way and won more than did Norman.  Still, Norman was the better golfer.

I look forward to once again having "a natural" in the limelight on the PGA Tour.  Norman could win and be jovial doing it.  Woods had to practice 24/7 and, even then, use mental tricks (see Mickelson/Harmon for funny details).  (I also think Woods' constant search for "tricks" -- no pun intended -- was what led him to Dr. Galea.)  Woods was great at it, and had a fantastic career.  My hat is off to him.  But the way he did it resulted in his robotic, bland personality.

I get a pick out of people who want to match up Woods' end of career stats with 22-year-old Rory's.  Well, golf fans, here's a factoid for you:  Rory is ahead of both Woods' and Nicklaus's pace for majors.   How you like them apples!

Since: Dec 8, 2011
Posted on: December 8, 2011 5:53 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

No one has ever dominated the game of golf as thoroughly and for as long as Woods has. "Talent" is never anything more than a subjective opinion so let's put this in terms of ability to win and recall McIlroys recent world class choke job prior to the his U.S. Open win. Woods has already accomplished more in his career than Donald and McIlroy combined are likely to do, neither of which has the ability to respond to pressure in the manner of Woods. Although Woods' most recent win was among a numerically restricted field, his response to the opponents birdie on 16 was back to back birdies of his own to WIN the tourney and take the measure of one of the better up and coming competitors. Many of his detractors don't approve of his lifestyle and he was "ranked" 52nd going into this tourney and is now ranked 21st and Sergio Garcia is ranked ahead of him. C'mon people, get real! Fact is, if Woods were to go four rounds head to head with anyone ranked above him and you had to bet your life on the outcome, I guarantee about 95% would be betting on Woods.

Since: Dec 8, 2011
Posted on: December 8, 2011 10:26 am

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

Personally, I don't see this as a big deal.  Tiger has admitted many times, he is not the most talented golfer to ever play the game.  The difference is his work ethic and his ability to step up when it matters.  There's a story out there about one day in the "19th" hole when John Daly was having a beer with some other golfers.  Tiger walks through the bar and Daly asks him to join them for a beer.  Tiger's response was, "John, if I had your talent, I wouldn't have to go to the range and practice right now."  So, it's not news that there may be more talented players out there.  Tiger has many talents, but one of his gifts is the ability to get inside the heads of the others, which I believe comes from a lifetime of learning how to really focus - at the right time. 

But once again, when it all comes down to it, do you really think Rory (or Luke) are going to win 71 times on the PGA Tour before the age of 36?  If so, Luke better enter every tournament in the next two years and win them all - he's 34.  As for Rory, I love the kid, and he is an amazing talent, but let's have this conversation when he's 27 and see where his career has taken him.  Then, we can "start" to make predictions.  It's too early to tell what he is going to accomplish.

Since: Dec 1, 2006
Posted on: December 8, 2011 7:56 am

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

you seem to be overlooking a couple of things...tiger has not won the most tournaments on tour, and tiger has not won the most majors on tour.  tiger is on a short list of players that have accomplished as much, but calling him the best is premature as well.

Since: Nov 13, 2007
Posted on: December 7, 2011 10:54 pm

Luke takes heat: 'Rory more talented than Tiger'

The media is quick to crown the "next best thing".  The problem is that, with all the young talent running around the tour right now, none seem to have the DRIVE that one TW has.  Sure TW is "off" his game at the moment but the biggest thing that made him great was his unrelenting drive to be the best.  I can't help but feel like the majority of the young guys right now are more consumed by fame than they are about "W's".

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