I wrote, right before the Masters, that the resurgence of Tiger Woods would be the only thing that could pull me into golf. I also said I probably wouldn't be able to write about golf again since I didn't have anything interesting left to say. I've donned my bib and pulled my chair up to the table - time to eat crow.
Rory McIlroy captivated me this weekend. His game made me want to pick up the clubs again and do my best John Daly impression. Gripping and ripping, not vodka and Marlboros. Having survived the debacle that was his Masters performance, I could see the relief and enjoyment of the game overcome him with every successful shot. Watching what should be the first of many major victories for the 22-year-old from Holywood (pronounced like our Hollywood), County Down in Northern Ireland, was simply an enjoyable experience. But maybe I'm biased.
My stepdad, Peter, is also from Holywood. He came to the United States in 1993 and is the best golfer I've ever seen in person. Listening to him describe his home course, the same course that McIlroy grew up on, I'm surprised not everyone from Holywood holds a major championship. Peter also knew McIlroy's dad, Jerry, from their time on the course and remembers a "wee little Rory" carrying around a golf club that was about as tall as he was. Having that (albeit thin) connection makes my rooting interest stronger than I've felt for any individual athlete short of a Packers player.
Another reason I can't get enough of McIlroy is his age. I turn 22 near the end of this month, and McIlroy turned 22 in early May; he is the first athlete my age to be at the top of his sport. You could point to a number of NBA players or NFL rookies that came out of college early, but none of them can be considered one of the best players in their game at the level McIlroy is. McIlroy is in my wheelhouse; my interest in golf will definitely ebb and flow with his success, and I know a number of my peers will be able to relate to that sentiment.
Rory McIlroy is the perfect storm for me. He's an athlete I relate to for a variety of reasons, and I hope he decides to join the U.S. tour ASAP. If McIlroy does come to America full time, it may even bring Tiger Woods out of his slumber for what would certainly be his biggest challenge yet, not to mention the ratings monster it has the potential to turn into. Tiger or no Tiger, I'm watching golf for McIlroy now, and it's something I never expected.
Alex is a student at UW-Milwauee and lives on Milwaukee's East Side. When he's not working at OnMilwaukee.com, he writes for the UWM Post sports section and plays devil's advocate to a fault in conversation.
Alex strongly believes that if the reason not to change is, "because we've always done it this way," then change is almost certainly necessary.
In Alex' free time he enjoys catching a movie at the Oriental or iPic, video games, creating arbitrary top-five lists, lobbying President Obama to follow-back via Twitter, messing with Chairman Meow (the resident apartment cat) and continuing his crusade to have Yuengling Lager brought to Wisconsin.
After graduating with degrees in marketing and journalism, Alex plans to continue writing and enjoying all of the adventures that life has to offer. If you see him around, stop and say "malarkey," as he never expects anyone to read these bios ... so he'll probably be surprised.