Like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy was a child prodigy who dominated youth competitions and appeared on late-night TV to perform golfing stunts.
In a newly published New York Times Magazine profile by Charles Siebert, there’s a a great anecdote about how high McIlroy set his sights as a kid.
McIlroy’s uncle told Siebert that when Rory was nine years old he wrote Tiger a letter — though it’s unclear if it ever made it to him — saying he better watch his back.
“No one can recall the note’s precise wording, but its general thrust, as Brian McIlroy, Rory’s uncle and godfather, paraphrased in an email, put Woods on notice: ‘I’m coming to get you. This is the beginning. Watch this space.’
“When I met McIlroy, now the world’s No. 1 golfer, in New York in December, I asked him about the letter. ‘A lot of those memories have kind of blurred together,’ he said somewhat sheepishly. ‘But, yeah, it went something like that.'”
That’s some pretty great trash talk for a kid who looked like this at the time:
Seventeen years later, McIlroy is the favourite heading into the 2015 Masters while Tiger has been away from the sport for a month to work on his broken golf game.
He hasn’t reached the level of dominance Tiger had at his peak, but he has taken over as the No. 1 player in the world on the course. He’s also making strides to replace Tiger has the face of the sport off the course. He has a deal with Nike golf — which Tiger single-handedly put on the map 20 years ago — rumoured to be worth $US200 million. Most recently, he took over as the face of EA Sports’ golf video game, which Tiger had been for years.
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