“Results Be Damned”: Heartbroken Golf Digest Crowns Rory The Open Champion

Cameron Smith Wins The 150th Open Championship Old Course St Andrews
Cameron Smith poses with The Claret Jug on the 18th green after winning The 150th Open at St Andrews Old Course on July 17, 2022 in St Andrews, Scotland. (Photo by Oisin Keniry for the R&A via Getty Images; Graphics by PGW)

While watching the Rory McIlroy Propaganda Show, aka the NBC broadcast of The Open Championship, my buddy Jimmy said, “These people are so invested in a Rory win, they’re starting to scare me. They may just say he won the Open, results be damned.”

We both laughed, took a sip of beer, and intently listened to the totally objective Paul Azinger tell us that Dustin Johnson‘s drive of the green was “greatly aided by wind and technology,” then 10 minutes later, with the wind unchanged, say, “there’s no substitution for power” after Rory McIlroy drove the same exact green, using the same exact driver (TaylorMade Stealth Plus) and exact same golf ball (TaylorMade TP5x).

Another buddy texted, and said, “Are you watching this sh#t? If Rory blows it, they’ll (media) be in denial.”

Two days later, Rory lost. And my buddies were proven right.

British Open Meme Rory McIlroy Cameron Smith
Meme: Pro Golf Weekly

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall pens what has to be the most embarrassing piece of puffery I’ve ever read. It was clearly written in advance, anticipating a Rory victory, then recycled so as not to waste such a poetically good word salad. Because no one glorifies a loser this way on purpose.

Think I’m exaggerating?

The title: British Open 2022: Rory McIroy didn’t win the claret jug. But he won this Open.

Golf Digest Rory McIlroy is the real British Open winner
Refusing to let go of a week-long narrative, Golf Digest crowned Rory McIlroy the Open winner, “results be damned.” (Golf Digest SG)
Key Ballyhoos
  • “Don’t forget to pray for Rory.”
  • The bond between the masses and Rory McIlroy…
  • The result had seemed preordained
  • So why did it feel like providence?
  • This was McIlroy’s week from the get-go
  • It began Tuesday when McIlroy called this Open his Holy Grail
  • The grail quest resonated in a way that explains much of the love he engenders
  • For nearly a decade, McIlroy has been on a crusade
  • Already one of the sport’s most popular figures, the rapport between McIlroy and fans this week has somehow been strengthened
  • His practice rounds were greeted with spirited cheer, his tournament rounds were de facto pep rallies
  • McIlroy had turned the Home of Golf into a home game, and his opponents had to deal with trying to win the claret jug in front of a gallery that didn’t want to see them do it
  • What Rory was doing was the talk of every conversation in town, and it wasn’t so much a discussion as an acknowledgement of what was destined
  • It was said in awe and said in reverence. It was said in self-congratulations, observers unable to process the luck of being here to witness something special
  • On one weekend night a group of well-watered fans walked down a side street, arms over the others’ shoulders, crooning, “Rorrrrr-y, Rory, Rory … RORRRR-Y!”
  • Heading into Sunday, the Open didn’t feel like a competition as much as a coronation, and the people were ready to greet their king.
  • It was another missed opportunity. Another missed season. Another could’ve, should’ve, would’ve. The major drought continues. The question now, as the gloaming consumes this town and sends this tournament into the past … does it matter?
  • To view the week only through the prism of Sunday evening is missing the point, and what happened on the final nine holes does not change what happened before them.
  • Emotional concessions like McIlroy’s resonate louder and longer than any result could, because while the majority of us will never know what it’s like to be that good at sport, pain and heartache are universal truths.
  • Rory kept a stiff upper lip, acknowledging the hurt but refusing to show it. Instead he took his hat off on the 18th and turned to the crowd. He clapped to the 18th grandstands, and to the grandstands on the first tee and to those lining the street. McIlroy eventually made his way off the green, up and over and down a temporary bridge to the scorer’s tent.
  • In the distance, past the red facade of Hamilton Grand and the blue grandstands bearing a slogan that read “EVERYTHING HAS LED TO THIS,” the steeple of St. Salvator’s pierced the sky.
  • Maybe there are higher powers at work, and for some reason they are working against McIlroy. Maybe it comes down to a golfer being outplayed by another golfer. Whatever you believe is fine. But this is unequivocal: As McIlroy disappeared from sight you could still hear claps from the 18th green and cries of his name, the crowd letting him know the love that was so present through this week would remain, outcome be damned.
  • At the people’s course at the people’s Open, Cam Smith leaves with the claret jug. But the people’s crown sits on the head of someone else.
Cameron Smith Wins The 150th Open Championship Old Course St Andrews
Cameron Smith kisses The Claret Jug after winning The 150th Open at St Andrews Old Course on July 17, 2022 in St Andrews, Scotland. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox via Getty Images)

One theory is it’s a millennial thing: the Participation Trophy Generation with their overblown sense of entitlement and a limited willingness to accept different outcomes and opinions, hence the generation that birthed wokeness and cancel culture.

This would pretty much describe the feeling among the golf twitter mob, and this piece in particular: “We worked too damn hard on Rory’s coronation storyline to let it be ruined by the damn results.”

The other theory is golf writers are simply dime store leftists, who rarely ever let reality interfere with a preferred narrative.

Pick a theory. You won’t be wrong.



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