The editor of a national golf magazine was on the phone, asking if I would like to write a story hailing this hot young player as the next Jack Nicklaus. The kid had won the U.S. Amateur, the NCAA Championship, was a four-time college All-American and had become the first amateur in 29 years to win a PGA Tour event.
I could've used the dough and I liked writing magazine stuff but I said no thanks. Maybe after a few years and a few major wins, I thought, but it's a little early.
I'm glad I did. The player was Scott Verplank. The last time I looked, he was 18 majors behind Nicklaus.
There is always a temptation to anoint some scorching newcomer the next this or that. Writers and commentators are that way. Slinging superlatives around makes them look knowledgeable but they are almost always wrong.
Remember how Michelle Wie was supposedly destined to be the greatest player ever in women's golf? So good she could play the men's tour? The media fell all over each other rushing to that judgment. How'd that work out?
She has the talent to be better than most and she eventually will start winning from time to time, but thus far she's just one of the also-rans, a victim of expectations among other things.
Listen to the typists and talkers and we have the next Tiger Woods among us. Currently, it's Rory McIlroy, who recently won the U.S. Open. I am deeply impressed with McIlroy, with his game and his manner, and he would be a popular leading man for the sport but thus far, he's not the next Tiger and probably won't be.
We can't even keep anyone in the No. 1 spot of the world rankings for longer than a week or two. There's not a dominating player in the game and, unless Tiger gets back to being what he was, there likely won't be.
The next Tiger? I just don't think there will be one for a long time, if ever.
There I got, sounding like a writer or commentator again.