A curious headline, undoubtedly. Bordering on the humorous perhaps, but bare with me here. To my mind, it’s not departing too far from realty to opine that David Beckham’s football career entered a different horizon when he left Old Trafford. Undeniably he was a player of extreme skill whose ability to conjure the improbable – and the deftness of his timing in the deliverance of same – was of incalculable value to the teams he served.
Delivering the needed with panache was often – certainly in the final furlongs of his career – eclipsed by the frenzied attention which surrounded his life away from football. Inclinations that Sir Alex Ferguson suspected things were liable to transpire thus when choosing to give him the hairdryer and the rest of his belongings are manifest.
Now, there are certain aspects of life this corner has no desire to comment on publicly and would be as comfortable as having a hedgehog for a cushion about so doing. That said, a sense that Rory McIlroy had taken his eye off the ball – either by accident or design – was articulated here before.
Admittedly, proclamations that the Hollywood man’s fortunes had been regenerated due to an alteration in his domestic arrangements might be top heavy with simplicity. In fact, it would distort viewing of what must be acknowledged as a highly productive season thus far for the player. What with him having garnered eight top ten finishes from ten tournaments played.
That’s the nub of it, though. Rightly or wrongly, people who are proficient at what they do and demonstrate this efficiency on a world stage are lumbered with the added brouhaha which accompanies the celebrity status they end up with. Whether they seek it or like it or not. They are expected to deliver constantly. Often in ways that has as much relevance to their professional output as sun block has to floods.
Which is why – highly unnecessary as McIlroy’s public pronouncement of what was going on in his life was – gut feeling was that the shackles had been cut open and thrown off him for his having done so. Should he have felt compelled to do so in order to attain the inner peace needed to allow his supreme talent emerge from the shadows? That’s another story.
Were he to observe some of the elder statesmen his trade, he may have a clearer vision of what lies ahead. For many of them have been performing like vintage wine of late. Miguel Angel Jimenez is someone that I would pay serious money to go on a session with. One of the great characters in his – or any – sport the Spaniard’s longevity in productivity is on a par for its attraction of admiration with his extroverted exuberance.
Tom Watson and Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie also remain stellar exponents of golfing brilliance in their own way. The latter is deserving of accreditation for having toned down what was often justifiably construed as brash arrogance. His establishment as an astute, articulate and surprisingly entertaining pundit has showcased a different facade to the man. Similar feelings pertaining to Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher in the world of soccer were documented here previously.
Yet, something trips in the mind to suggest that, of all those mentioned, McIlroy would do best to follow the example of the colourful veteran. That summation is, granted, aligned to an impression – right or otherwise – that he who likes his jar and big cigar is as conscious of what people think of him as a cow is of bank holidays.
Rory should take heed. Let his golf do the talking. When he’s on form and puts on a show, often, it’s quite a breathtaking spectacle.