Tait: McIlroy shows humility while bouncing back

Rory McIlroy putts on No. 10 Saturday during the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Doral, Fla.

Rory McIlroy putts on No. 10 Saturday during the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Doral, Fla.

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Hilton Head, SC - Harbour Town Golf Links

12:37:53 AM ET. 04/19/2014




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1K.J. Choi-4F-5
2Robert Allenby-25-4
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Well done to Rory McIlroy for fronting up this week and admitting he made a mistake in walking out of the Honda Classic. You have to admire him for his honesty. If only more players were as honest, then the game would be much better off.

I expected nothing less from Rory. He’s always been open, honest and well grounded. Gerry and Rosie, his father and mother, have made sure of that. Working class Holywood Golf Club made sure of that. The members wouldn’t put up with kids playing the big shot at the club near Belfast.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Gerry got hold of him and told him to ditch the wisdom tooth idea and tell the truth.

Maybe Gerry didn’t need to tell Rory. Given his upbringing, Rory probably knew better to open up and tell the truth.

Gerry never wasted any time in putting Rory in his place during his amateur days — such as the time he shot his son down when his offspring was trying to impress an attractive young lady.

Back in Rory’s amateur days, father and son happened to arrive at The Barns at Kingsbarns hotel at the same time as the attractive young lady. They were unloading the car at the time when Rory tried to play the big shot in front of the girl. “Bring those bags in,” Rory said to Gerry.

“Bring them in yourself,” Gerry shot back.

Guess what? A humbled young Rory had to carry his bags in himself, probably much to the amusement of the young lady.

I’d love to know where the wisdom tooth story came from. Sounds to me like the sort of yarn a management type would make up. Why tell the truth when you can spin a story to try to get a player off the hook?

Management groups have a lot to answer for in making golfers feel more important than they really are. I’ve known players in the amateur game who were extremely approachable until they found a bit of success in the pro game. Suddenly they go from being friendly and accessible to aloof and almost unapproachable.

The problem is many management groups never say no to players or upbraid them for misdemeanors for fear of losing them to other management groups. No surprise, then, that players feel they can do whatever they like, that they can forget common courtesies. If that means blowing off a journalist for an arranged interview, or blanking people they were once friendly with, then so be it.

Let me state categorically before I get emails that I’m not hanging the same egomaniac tag on all players. Most of the guys on the European Tour are great to deal with, but there are and have been a few who need to be pulled off their extremely lofty perch.

Thankfully Rory hasn’t developed an overblown sense of his own importance. He still says hello, still honors his commitments, and isn’t afraid to admit his mistakes when he makes them, as he did this week in apologizing for his Honda Classic walkout.

The word we are looking for: humility. Sadly, it’s a quality some stars lack. Rory has it in spades. I could tell you a few players I’d like to see him pass it on to.

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