Memo to Lebron: Have Lunch with Rory McIlroy

A little over 60 days ago, I wrote here about young Rory McIlroy’s improbable choke job on Sunday at the Master’s. That day, McIlroy entered the competition with a 4-shot lead only to shoot an 80 en route to a 15th place finish. I concluded that piece by saying, “Time will tell whether McIlroy becomes Jean Van de Velde or Greg Norman. One of the great lessons of sports is that it’s not how many times one falls, but how many times he gets back up.”

It didn’t take Rory much time to get back up. Yesterday, McIlroy capped off a dominating performance by winning the US Open at Congressional in Washington, D.C. It was never in doubt as McIlroy led nearly wire-to-wire. His 8-stroke margin of victory is second only to Tiger Woods’ 15 stroke victory at Pebble Beach in 2000. With this victory, McIlroy not only has solidified his position as golf’s next superstar and likely heir to Tiger’s crown, but more importantly, Rory showed us all how to properly respond to failure: win.

Another celebrated sports star, Lebron James of the Miami Heat, is sitting in McIlroy’s former position right now. While James shot at redemption will have to wait for a year (maybe more if there’s a lockout), Lebron now has a blueprint for how professional athletes successfully pick themselves up after a colossal failure.

As we watched McIlroy this weekend, we could see that he learned from his past. There were a couple of opportunities where he hit errant tee shots that could very easily have repeated his meltdown by following one mistake with encores. This is especially true at the demanding US Open where wayward golf balls are much more likely to lead to bogeys than with the more forgiving rough at Augusta. On one telling par 5, McIlroy found himself in the first cut of rough. Rather than try to make up this mistake in one shot and perhaps risk more trouble, he humbly laid up, was able to hit a solid third shot and two-putted for par.

The first rule of “holes” is to stop digging. That’s the biggest key to success, not just in sports, but in any venture. In the Master’s, McIlroy compounded his errors by making more mistakes under the pressure. Yesterday, McIlroy stopped the negative processes and initiated a painless recovery, allowing him to finally grab his cup of coffee as “a closer.”

Lebron James should invite Rory McIlroy out for a cup of coffee. Perhaps young Rory could teach King James a thing or two about closing.

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About Chuck Chapman

I'm a professional writer who mainly specializes in sports. I have two NFL sites that are part of the Sports Media 101 network, Bengals 101 and Colts 101. If you've found my on WordPress, then you're either reading about families and relationships on So, We're Not the Huxtables, or you've found my daughter's "Princess Kate Stories." She's an imaginative little girl who just loves to tell stories. She sees her daddy writing every day and wanted her own blog where she can share her vivid imagination. We both hope our readers enjoy our work. We certainly do. Feel free to take the time to introduce yourself, leave a comment, or even subscribe to get regular updates. Thanks for reading.
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One Response to Memo to Lebron: Have Lunch with Rory McIlroy

  1. Chris Ross says:

    Really nice post. I wasn’t too sure of how Rory would respond after his Masters performance. I believed that he might be another Sergio Garcia and that golf would have to wait even longer for another star to arrive. I guess not. McIlroy is a class act and has the kind of talent that has almost no ceiling to it. The sky is the limit for this guy and it couldn’t happen to a better person. He reacted so well to the situation after the Masters and was a good guy all the way despite the blow out win this weekend. It should to be fun to see this kid perform for the next decade. Let’s hope for the sake of golf that he continues it. Also, you think you could check out my blog cuz I’d love to hear what you have to say http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/just-what-the-doctor-ordered/

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