Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 31 January 2015

Biting Back: Rory McIlroy a perfect example of how class is permanent

DALY CITY, CA - JUNE 11: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland catches a golf ball during a practice round prior to the start of the 112th U.S. Open at The Olympic Club on June 11, 2012 in Daly City, California. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi, by common consent the finest footballer on the planet, won little of note last season, the Spanish Cup being to Barcelona what the Carling Cup is to the Premiership giants in the great scheme of things.

Likewise, George Best, Pele and the two Ronaldos could all point to unremarkable days.

So why do we expect Rory McIlroy to win every golf championship he enters?

Tennis Grand Slam titles are among the hardest in sport to win. Yet every tournament will invariably be annexed by one of three players, Nadal, Djokovic or Federer.

Contrast that with golf where the last 14 Majors contested have produced 14 different winners.

That's the level of competition Rory is up against as he begins his US Open defence in San Francisco on Thursday.

And still he faces the most forensic examination of where he is supposedly going wrong when he doesn’t win.

Tell me a 23-year-old who doesn’t routinely change his hairstyle, fashion sense, girlfriend or abode?

Rory remains a credit to his game, his country, his family and, above all, himself.

Like Messi and Bestie, he’ll win some, lose some, but form is temporary, class is permanent.

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