Memories of Rory McIlroy and the Walker Cup
It’s always fun to discover the “next big thing” before it actually explodes into the public spotlight.
The problem was “the next big thing” didn’t look like the next big thing while I was snooping around for it.
I traveled to Northern Ireland in September, 2007, to catch the Walker Cup at the revered Royal County Down.
A young local hero, Rory McIlroy, was all the rage. In a perfect world, the wunderkind would lead the Great Britian and Ireland team of budding stars to a trouncing victory over those hated Americans.
There was one problem: McIlroy brought his ‘B’ game. The Americans, meanwhile, brought their own young hotshot who stole the show, Colt Knost.
Knost played like dynamite that year, winning the Western and U.S. Amateurs. He was the leader with a rock-solid game who helped the Americans pull a shocking upset of the GB&I team.
Looking back, it’s too bad I didn’t get to see the real McIlroy, who is now all the rage again … this time on the PGA Tour. He’s 19 and has already won a European Tour event.
He went deep into the Accenture match play championship, disposing of Tim Clark, fresh off his Tiger Woods win.
McIlroy has that “it” quality Tiger has. He’s got looks, charm, talent, a cool accent and a bravado needed to fight off the world’s best players.
It should be a fun year watching the rookie become “the next big thing” on tour. Even if I didn’t discover him first.
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