It’s been said of the game of golf that it’s a good walk ruined but I think that’s being too soft on it. It’s a game where you play against others but nothing you do can affect their play - unlike football, soccer, rugby, tennis hurling, handball and lots of other sensible games. I don’t say there aren’t good people who play golf but I do say I can easily see why the Olympics Committee has so far resisted any temptation it may have felt to include golf on the list of Olympic games. So far. Word is, we can expect to see golf climb aboard in the next Games in 2016.
But let me not be blind to golf's one big plus: it can make you seriously rich. Rory McIlroy knows that. Now that his hair and his ears have arrived at a vague agreement with his nose, he’s earning so much, it’s a joke to even talk about it. How much? Well, the word is his net worth as of now is about $20 million. And as he’s tipped to sign up with Nike to display their wares soon, he should guarantee himself over $22 million a year for the next ten years.
When you’re making that kind of money by playing a dumb game, there’s no way you’re going to allow yourself to be shackled by ANYTHING from making lots and lots more money. Least of all politics. And yet if we’re to believe what we read, that’s what’s on the cards for Rory.
Remember the brouhaha there was when he said he felt more British than Irish? Well apparently he sort of mis -spoke when he said that. Because now he says he’s agonising about whether to declare himself as a British player in the 2016 Olympics, or whether to declare himself Irish, or whether to solve the problem (he says it’s a problem, because he knows somebody’s going to be offended) by not playing in the Olympics at all.
EH? He’s set to earn over $22 million a year over the next ten years, he’s sitting on $20 million already, and he’s worried that he might offend somebody by declaring for Britain or Ireland? Wish I had his worries.
Let’s lay aside the niceties, Rory, shall we? I don’t believe you give a monkey’s. When you’re as good at golf as you are (I never thought I’d write ‘good’ and ‘golf’ in the same sentence) and more important, earning what you’re earning and going to earn, the sensibilities of some really stupid people back on the tiny pimple of an island from which you emanate matters less than a tomtit breaking wind at dawn.
I know there are people biting their nails about whether the union jack or the tricolour is draped around those 23-year-old shoulders. If it’s contrary to their own loyalties, they’ll get all annoyed. Listen, guys. Beyond death and taxes, there are few certainties in life. But there is one you can rely on, and that is, what will motivate Rory to adopt one flag or another or neither. And that is? All together now: MONEY. Right in one. You think he’s going to take a step that he thinks will maybe shrink those massive earnings? Pu-lease.
Nobody should care. What kind of loyalty, commitment is influenced because some rich little Holywood-boy-next-door decides he kicks with the other foot, as it were? Why should somebody who spends all day in the world of golf be seen as some sort of role model for the rest of us? He’s a golfer, for God’s sake. A brilliant golfer. Without a political idea in his head. Not a philosopher. Not a spiritual guide. Or a political one. So when he makes these announcements, keep in mind that he's really talking about money. His money.
The saddest part of all, though, is not that Rory is motivated by money and what will help keep his sponsor and bank manager happy. Sadder, far sadder is the fact that there are people out there who will feel IN SOME WAY LET DOWN by Rory’s decision. Let us now offer a decade of the rosary for these poor lost souls.