Since no one cares about golf anymore, the Golf Channel tried something new on its early Sunday coverage. The cameras left the action on the course, where admittedly the players were too far behind to win, and decided to focus on Rory McIlroy practicing. (No one ever tried this with Allen Iverson.) And to make things even more more boring, McIlroy was practicing putting. (So there was nothing to note about his hip action, his power, his style–no marvelous flight trajectory to opine on–stuff golf geeks love.) Nope, just Rory McIlroy putting. But then a funny thing happened. It wasn’t boring at all. McIlroy started making ten foot putts and just kept doing it. Over and over so that viewers thought it was a replay. But no–Rory McIlroy made 55 ten foot putts in a row, as announcer Rich Lerner counted them up.
The current world No. 1 player, McIlroy is trying to hoist golf up on his shoulders the way Tiger Woods did for a decade. McIlroy is trying to carry golf through the tough time it finds itself in–with shrinking interest in the sport from amateur players and viewers alike. Woods did some remarkable things to bring people into the game who, before Tiger, had no interest. You have to be a special, charismatic player to do that. The kind of player who people will even watch practice. Rory McIlroy is just 25. He’s got a lot of heavy lifting to do.