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Despite The Excitement, Rory McIlroy Still Doesn’t Get Me Interested In Golf

Andrew Redington, Getty Images

Rory McIlroy not only won the U.S. Open at Congressional yesterday but he made the world stand up and take notice.

What McIlroy did was quite impressive:  he set tourney records for score under par at -16 and lowest final score of 268.  He finished 8 shots better than 2nd place finisher Jason Day.

A Tiger-esque performance no doubt.

But I’m not impressed.

Sure, it’s an impressive weekend but I’m not impressed enough to want to watch McIlroy again.

To me, he’s just not appointment television.  Could he be that way?  Maybe.

No matter how much you talk about him or the PGA markets him, he just looks like every other golfer.

Rory McIlroy, Steve Stricker, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Jason Day.  What do all of these guys have in common? They all play golf and with the exception of McIlroy’s hair, these guys could probably be your waiter in a restaurant, and you’d have no idea who they are.

Tiger Woods was so popular because he was so dominant and didn’t look like everyone else. He was built. He was driven. He was magnetic. You loved him or you hated him.

Andrew Redington, Getty Images

Do you honestly love or hate McIlroy? No. Think of all of the polarizing athletes. LeBron. Tiger. A-Rod. Crosby. Kobe. All of those guys can either be villains or heroes. McIlroy is just a regular dude.

Think about John Daly.  He was overweight, he looked like he should be living in a trailer park and he wasn’t a typical PGA Tour “good old boy”.  Daly also came out of nowhere to win a Major and then he created drama. He drank, he partied, he made some bad decisions about his relationships.  He’s still never recovered from all of that.  And I want to watch him everytime he plays in a tournament.

Once a guy gets over the hump, he no longer becomes appealing.  He loses some luster.

McIlroy melted down in the Masters and you had to feel bad for him.  He completely pooped his pants on the back 9 shooting an 80. You wondered if he would be able to bounce back.  But then he destroys the field in the US Open and you’re like, “Okay, that guy is pretty good….but he’s already won……and now I can move on.”

Phil Mickelson finally got over the stigma of being the ”best player to have never won a Major” in 2004 as he finally beat Tiger Woods. It was his 12th year on the Tour – but after that, he was no longer an underdog.  You still might like Phil but honestly, is he appointment television in 2011?

Here’s another reason why McIlroy doesn’t get me fired up to want to watch him again.  He’s not American.  He’s from Northern Ireland.

And that’s what the trend in golf has been lately.  South African Charl Schwartzel won the Masters in April.  He’s fellow countryman, Louis Oosthuizen, won the British Open; Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell took home the US Open last year and Germany’s Martin Kaymer took the PGA Championship crown.

Again, can you point those guys out if they were working at a Dick’s Sporting Goods?

Ross Kinnaird, Getty Images

Vijay Singh, Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal, Nick Price, Angel Cabrera, Ratief Goosen.  Why did those guys never really become popular? Because they aren’t from America.

It’s not being an elitist. We just like rooting for our own.  That’s why soccer hasn’t really taken off here. No one feels like it’s our own sport.

For the first time since the Masters began in 1934, Americans have gone five majors without winning.

Golf is slowly turning into tennis.  Think about the best American tennis players today. Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish.  Not exactly the best players out there.  The days of Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe are over.  And so is America’s love for tennis.

Do you agree with me?  Well, did you know that the final round of the U.S. Open drew 26 percent lower television ratings than the finish of last year’s tournament?  Apparently, other people do see it my way too.

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