It may seem that an athlete with three major victories and a world ranking of No.1 would be considered ‘on the rise’ and not ‘there.’ But when you rewind to WGC Bridgestone 2007, it is apparent there is still room for him to rise.
WGC Bridgestone from 2007: a dominant Tiger Woods. The large crowds followed him around the course. Aerial shots showed large portions of the course nearly empty and a massive crowd around Tiger’s putting green. Several stewards tagged along with Tiger taking cell phones if necessary and signaling to the crowd when they were to be quite and when they could cheer… And when they could cheer, they did cheer; wildly. Tiger blasted past Formula legend Michael Schumacher’s annual earnings record for an athlete. Pushing that number form $84 million to over $100 million. No athlete has a career earnings greater than Tiger… In any sport. And there still exist many, many casual golf fans who only tune in if Tiger is in contention.
Now, Mcilroy joins Tiger and Jack Nichlaus as the only golfers to have three major championship victories by the time they were 25. The newscasters are starting to say ‘Tiger and Rory,’ ‘Rory and Tiger.’ They are both Nike athletes, and the shoemaker has realized that they are becoming the two biggest names in golf, running commercial campaigns starring both. And now with Tiger’s fortunes seemingly to deteriorate at a consistency and seriousness that suggests we may never see him at his beast again, can Rory take over? There may never be another Tiger, but can Rory bring the casual fans back, and put the big corporate dollars front and center? That remains to be seen but with his 2014 Bridgestone victory Rory Mcilroy is certainly and athlete on the rise.