Right Field

Rory!

A friend and colleague wrote me to say, “You are my guru on golf.” Aw. (Hey, what about politics?) “Tell me: How impressive was McIlroy’s Open victory, really?” The answer: very, very. McIlroy did things you’re not supposed to do in the U.S. Open. He fired the kind of numbers you’re supposed to fire in the Pizza Hut Classic, once in a blue moon. In the Open, you’re supposed to grind it out and grind it out, winning by one shot at 2 over par or something. Or in a grueling 18-hole playoff on the Monday. McIlroy lapped the field, and lapped it again, and lapped it again. Tiger used to do this.

Speaking of Tiger: Confidence is almost everything. Almost everything in golf. In fact, a real guru, the great Bob Rotella, wrote a book called “Golf Is a Game of Confidence.” McIlroy oozes it now, is filled with it. He could do anything — he could kick the ball in (to borrow an old phrase), or head it in, as in soccer. And Tiger’s confidence, once supreme, is in the toilet.

Trust me, these guys have all the technique in the world. Plenty of it. What matters lies between the ears, and in the heart. These are all just clichés, platitudes — but they’re still true.

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