SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND | Professional golf has many things at the moment.
A run of first-time major champions. Media savvy stars. Really good ice cream trucks at the Open Championship.
What golf needs is a dynasty.
Jack Nicklaus was a dynasty. Tiger Woods was a dynasty.
Rory McIlroy may yet become a dynasty but he needs to start making cuts again before we can even begin thinking about the associating him with the D word.
Sports are best when they are defined by dynasties. The New York Yankees. The New England Patriots. Michael Buffer getting the world ready to rumble.
With dynasties, everyone knows where they stand. There’s a sense of order. Something – or someone – by which to measure.
Remember the way Tiger dominated? He owned rooms. He owned tournaments. He owned seemingly everything but the Nike swoosh, and he had a nice chunk of that.
Professional golf had clear definition. Beat Tiger and you’d done something spectacular. Win a tournament that didn’t include Tiger? That was nice, too, but …
These days, the sport is dominated by committee. Dustin Johnson. Jason Day. Jordan Spieth. Rory.
Each of them has been an occasionally great player but they’ve traded the top spot the past couple of years the way some people trade cars. It wasn’t long ago that Spieth, McIlroy and Day won five majors in a six-event stretch.
Now – especially this week – it feels like anybody’s Claret Jug to claim.
“No one is really standing out and sort of taking it by the scruff of the neck. But it’s so hard these days to separate yourself,” McIlroy said.
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Remember the Big Three from years ago?
There was even talk (it seems a bit silly now) of a Big Five when Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen were rolling along.
If a group has separated itself, it’s tough to define.
“I’m not sure who it would be, if you asked me,” Spieth said when he was, in fact, asked.
And that answers the question – at least for the time being.
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