One of Ireland’s most respected golfers believes Rory McIlroy will never be a Tiger Woods or a Seve Ballesteros but will play the game more like ‘Golden Bear’ Jack Nicklaus.
Des Smyth competed in two Ryder Cups and captured 24 tournaments around the world in his professional career, including eight on the main European Tour and two on the Champions Tour.
So www.golfbytourmiss.com spoke to Smyth ahead of this week’s SSE Scottish Senior Open to ask what he thought of McIlroy’s stunning PGA Championship success.
And before heading out to contest yesterday’s (THR) Pro-Am he spoke in glowing terms of Rory McIlroy.
“It’s just been sensational for Ireland the last few years starting with Padraig and then Graeme, Rory, Darrren and now Rory, again,” said Smyth.
“But the great aspect about Rory is that when he plays well, he plays like the best ranked player in the world.”
And Smyth said he likened McIlroy’s winning ways not to that of Tiger ‘must win at all costs’ Woods or the swashbuckling former and great, Seve Ballesteros.
No, Smyth believes McIlroy is very much in the Jack Nicklaus mould.
“I don’t think Rory will be a Tiger Woods in the sense that every time he tees up he’s expected to win because I have the feeling with Rory is that he plays and enjoys it,” said Smyth.
“Then when he start coming into Majors that’s then when you’ll see Rory coming into his own.
“Jack Nicklaus and all the great players were like that whereas Tiger just dominated golf for the period he did, and that was his style just like Seve.
“So for every week, it was make or break and that’s just not Rory’s style.
“And Rory’s so good he could free-wheel wins, but to have won two Majors at age 23 is just phenomenal.”
Joining Smyth this week at St. Andrews Bay is fellow Irish Jimmy Heggarty, Denis O’DSullivan and Philip Walton who is making his debut in the event.