So Justin Thomas is the winner from Hawaii. Admittedly it essentially ranks as an exhibition tourney, with fairways so wide that even yours truly could find them, but it ranks as a win, and with his prodigious talent, it could be used as a water shed moment for him. Anyone that witnesses his swing will know that it’s up there with the best on tour, but the issue is with the more nuanced aspects of the game.
Can he hone the less bombastic aspects of his game to greater effect? Let’s hope so, as he can be a joy to watch.
Another man that’s in a rich vein of form, and has been knocking on the door, is commentators nightmare Hiddeki Matsuyama. The metronomic swing of his is nothing short of impressive, but again, can he make the final step and be the first Asian to win a Major? Again, he has the natural ability to but it seems that others are more capable of stepping up when it matters.
Still, he does have time on his side and seems to be maturing into himself. For those unfamiliar, Paul Kimmage helped bring down Lance Armstrong.
A former cyclist himself, he now enjoys a fantastic journalistic career. He’s cranky, curmudgening, but calls everything as he sees it. Which is why I’m a massive fan, and these blogs wouldn’t be anything close to his level. Flattery aside, he sat down with Rory McIlroy this weekend as part of an in depth two part interview, where the topic of allegiance arose.
In a revealing insight, Rory details the betwixt and between nature that a Northern Irish athlete still has to negotiate. Even as one of the more polished speakers on the tour, he pulls no punches in expressing his own opinion on any subjects.
The point he makes about “being with or against us” is a one many Northern athletes have had to deal with for such a long time. Barry McGuigan had it and, coming full circle, Carl Frampton still has to face it. If you turn away from one side or another, are you automatically a villain?
It has been brought up by those on Off The Ball, that works with McIlroys rhetoric. Why be Irish or British, when you can be true to yourself and be a man of Northern Ireland? Why try to play to the gallery if they don’t seem willing to reciprocate?
There should be nothing wrong with just viewing yourself as Northern Irish, yet sadly it still features as a stigma. As fans, we would like to see Rory win medals for us, but should he do that at the expense of alienating himself from every conceivable group going? I don’t think so. And neither should you.
He focuses on having normalcy in his life. Put yourself in his shoes. How would you act?