Waiting for Tiger Woods and the 'next Tiger Woods'
As Tiger Woods gears up for his much-anticipated return, the “next Tiger Woods” is apparently coming to America for a little competition.
Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who just became the sixth teenager to win a European Golf tour event by winning the Dubai Desert Classic on Sunday, has already accepted a sponsor’s exemption to play in the United States (the Shell Houston Open) as he prepares to play in the Masters.
The 19-year-old is now 16th in the world rankings, making him the youngest player to reach the world’s top 20.
What’s amazing is some are saying that McIlroy is ahead of where Woods was at 19. Of course, Woods was still playing as an amateur when was 19; McIlroy has been a professional for a year and a half already. Things work a little different in Europe.
Nevertheless, Mark O’Meara, one of Woods’ closest friends over the years, said McIlroy is probably a better ball-striker than Woods was at the same age. He also said his technique is better, to expect to him to win some majors and that he’s got “it.”
McIlroy, to his credit, downplays the comparisons. He told the BBC:
“Obviously Tiger, since he was 19, has improved a lot,” he said.
“But, if he can improve that much hopefully I can as well.
“Maybe one day I’ll be able to compete with him, but at the minute I’m concentrating on trying to get my next win and moving up the world rankings.”
As for Woods, he said on his Web site that he’s practicing “full-bore” but that his stamina isn’t where it needs to be.
When Woods returns is anybody’s guess, especially considering that he and his wife Elin are anticipating the birth of their second child later this month. You can count on this, though: He’ll be playing in Augusta and wouldn’t it be cool if he found himself paired with the “next Tiger Woods” during the third or fourth round?
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I suspect it will be the same with Woods. Players such as him are so rare that probability dictates that they only come around once every couple of generations or so. Thus, I tend to doubt there will be another Woods. What will probably happen is that, assuming the world in its present form exists in 25 years, an aging and mostly-retired Woods will be watching some other young prodigy make his name, a man who will be so good that people will be wondering if he can break Woods' records. But he wouldn't be called "the next Tiger Woods" any more than Woods is called "the next Nicklaus." Like Woods and Nicklaus, he would be so great that his name would stand all by itself and he would be viewed as a singular figure.
Finally he's Latin & everybody knows Latins are the best athletes in the World Pound for Pound
You must be watching a different Camilo Villegas than the rest of us. He is an immense talent, yes -- he's the Chi Chi Rodriguez of our time. However, his putting, like Rodriguez', is a bit shaky to say the least. He tends to miss short putts, especially in the clutch.
He certainly can be one of the very best players in the world, but I don't see him challenging Woods in the way in which you speak.