Rory McIlroy (or the Lunacy of Media Portayal)

This is less about marketing than it is about taking everything you hear with a grain of salt. Rory McIlroy, the boy phenom that has the entire golf world crowning him the next Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods after his very first Major Championship win, has demonstrated the ability of the world around us to blow something out of proportion.

After last Sunday’s impressive win at the U.S. Open, everyone from the New York Times to ESPN was ready to hand this kid the keys to the kingdom. Praising him as “a breath of fresh air” and “the leader of a new era in golf”, mainstream media consistently referred to the game of golf’s need for this type of player to come along right now.

Not lost in all of the media reports were the subtle references to Tiger Woods “disgracing” the game of golf. Every time they praised McIlroy’s humility, they were calling Tiger a cocky asshole.

But the truth is, these are the same people who were sure that Tiger was the best thing for the game since Jack Nicklaus, that Tiger was a breath of fresh air for a game that had lost its appeal to the younger generation, that Tiger was humble, determined, the best the game had ever seen. How quickly we forget. How quickly we are ready to trust someone new, the same way we trusted Tiger.

I’m not speaking for or against either of these men, merely commenting on how ridiculously out of proportion we have the ability to make things. On the dawn of a new presidential election that will bring high praise, common insults, and media bias in both directions, and in the face of ever louder and more constant marketing messages touting the best this or the greatest that, take everything you hear with a grain of salt. The strongest messages usually come with the smallest asterisks.