Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington view fame a bit differently, but both offer interesting points.
The pair was recently interviewed in a sit-down setting together by the Irish Independent’s Paul Kimmage, and it’s a pretty cool conversation the whole way through.
But McIlroy’s and Harrington’s thoughts on fame stuck out.
McIlroy has already opened up a bit about this before, admitting he could not live Tiger Woods’ life in terms of the scrutiny he deals with due to his intense fame.
But he expounded a bit more here. As McIlroy noted in this recent chat, he actually embraces fame in certain areas, but in others he wishes to avoid it.
“Put me in a golf environment; make me the center of attention; I love that. That’s me. That’s what I’m famous for,” McIlroy said. “Put me walking down the street in Dublin (Ireland) and someone shouting at me and I’ll be (he shields his face with his hands): ‘No! Go away.’
“It’s happy days when I’m the center of attention on the golf course, but I want to walk into Brown Thomas (an Irish department store chain), get a shirt and not be seen.”
An understandable feeling.
As for Harrington, he embraces fame wherever he can get it.
“I love it. I might (not) be that famous in the wider context of things, but I have no problem if somebody with a few drinks shouts at me as I’m walking down the street in Dublin at night. I’m delighted. I’ll wave back to them, ‘Yeah!’ (he raises a thumb) and remind myself that the more that happens, the better I’m doing.”
That wasn’t all.
Harrington didn’t imply dealing with fame is easy for him. There are challenges. Namely for the Irishman is having to deal with taking the brunt of others’ actions.
“The one I find hard is when you’re with a group of people at a table but the only ‘person’ is you,” Harrington said. “So if the table is loud it’s ‘Harrington’s table’ – not the other nine people who are sitting there. And sometimes you will try to take too much responsibility for your group.”
McIlroy added on that he’s not a great judge of character, but with fame he’s had to figure out a test on this front.
It’s a familiar one but still instructive.
“If someone says: ‘Oh, you met X. How is he?’ I’ll say: ‘I think he’s nice – he was nice to me.’ But everyone is nice to me!” McIlroy said. “The real test is the private moment. How does X treat the waiter who takes his order in the restaurant? Or the guy who can’t do anything for him? That will tell you if he’s a good guy.”
None of this is a consideration most people have to deal with, so the perspective here is especially refreshing.
And the last lesson is certainly one more people can take to heart.