So Rory McIlroy leaves the Honda Classic midway through his second round, just packs it in and goes home. Tells reporters in the parking lot the "he's not in a good place mentally." A little while later, a statement is released in which Rory claims to be suffering from pain in a wisdom tooth that affected his concentration.
I get that whatever the no. 1 player in the game does is big news.
Switches from Titleist to Nike for big bucks? Yup, big news.
Misses the cut in his first tournament with the new clubs? Big news, really big.
Gets knocked out in first round of match play event? That's big.
Plays 36 with Tiger the Sunday morning after going home from match play event? Hey, anytime Rory and Tiger do anything together it's going to qualify as big news. Just the way it is and those guys know it.
Here is what I don't get: Jack Nicklaus says that Rory will be "fine" by the time the Masters comes around next month and his comment is treated like Gospel in the church of golf journalism. I mean you can read what Jack said about Rory here. Or here. Or here. Or just go to......well, you get my point.
Oooooh! Jack said Rory will be fine. Rory is too talented. Rory's a good kid.
I understand that Jack is still revered in the world of golf. As the all time major winner, I can appreciate what he has meant to the game. I get it.
But is this really big news deserving of this much time and attention? I mean, did Jack say anything really earth shattering?
Keep in mind that Jack's comment was made while visiting the NBC booth during the Honda Classic. You've probably seen him up there before, assuming you watch golf. Have you ever heard Nicklaus say anything that was really that newsworthy in the NBC booth when discussing another player? Nicklaus is very guarded and conservative and won't take the bait that Johnny Miller offers in an attempt to get him to say something that MIGHT be newsworthy. He is going to say the politically correct thing while on national television.
Think about this: If Nicklaus had said, "I think Rory made a huge mistake in taking that obscene amount of money from Nike. I think he never should have left Titleist. I can't see him winning another major." Now that would have been news.
But Nicklaus is never going to say anything like that about Rory.
Keep in mind, also, that Rory recently moved to Florida and plays out of the Bear's Club, a haven which Nicklaus built and which is the home course for many professionals and recognized as having some of the very best practice facilities anywhere. And they speak with each other. They have lunch. Rory seeks Jack's advice.
Here is my question: If Rory misses the cut at Augusta National, are these same reporters who so breathlessly reported what Nicklaus said about Rory this past weekend going to point out that Jack was wrong about Rory being "fine" for the Masters?
No, they won't.
But here is what they will do: They'll ask Jack for his take on Rory's performance. "Rory is coming around. I see some improvement in his game and I think he'll be much better in the U.S. Open," Nicklaus will tell the reporters. And they'll report it all again as if it's really big news.
And you'll be able to read about it....well, I'll give you the links to the articles when they get posted.