When does Rory McIlroy enter junior high? It’s a fair question considering all the self-protective fawning that the multimillionaire professional athlete received from the media in the wake of his Masters choke.
If you didn’t know better you’d have to assume that McIlory is 12 instead of 21, that he has a fragile, developing mind that needs to be coddled. Perhaps some milk and cookies would have been appropriate. CBS’s Peter Kostis certainly would have volunteered to do the baking.
Kostis’ post-round talk with McIlroy — calling it an interview would be an embarrassment to even the Eric Dickersons of the sideline reporting world — bordered on the absurd. After informing McIlroy and everyone at home that this was the least favorite part of his job (what a grueling, exacting existence he has!), Kostis proceeded to give a pep talk. Better yet, once the cameras turned away, he hugged McIlroy.
Of course he did. It’s a scene that wouldn’t be repeated in any other sport — with the exception of perhaps women’s gymnastics at the Olympics (of course in that case, the “21-year-old” would really actually be 12, making it all a little more understandable).
Can you imagine a 21-year-old LeBron James being protected and propped up like McIlroy is in the wake of his final round 80? At about the same career point as McIlroy is now, LeBron won All-Star Game MVP and was roundly derided for passing up the most important shots in a playoff loss to the Detroit Pistons. No one in the media was cooing to LeBron that it’s going to be all right.
So why all the pity for someone who’s supposed to be one of the top professional golfers in the world? Is it because McIlroy looked so overmatched and out of place on Sunday? With his curly hair and ever-untucked golf polo, it’s easy to imagine why a mom couldn’t help but wrap him up in her arms. But sportscasters?
Please. McIlory has a lot of Mark Sanchez in him. He’s sort of a young punk, someone who takes needless shots at one of the greatest players in the game (Tiger Woods) just because he can. He’s no great example. Just a mentally fragile loser.
–Chris Baldwin covers the sports media for Metro.
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