Whisper it quietly, but a certain young Northern Irish golfer will have a sizeable following on this side of the Atlantic during every stroke of this weekend’s Open Championship.
In fact, I would go so far as to say only a victory for Lefty himself, Phil Mickelson, would bring a bigger cheer in American circles than a second successive Major title for Rory McIlroy.
If ever a non-US sportsman has been taken to heart quicker and deeper than young Rory, I haven’t seen it, and it must have happened in an eye-blink, because it’s hard to equate with anything else that usually happens on these inward-looking shores.
True, American golf is suffering from a particularly pointed piece of navel-gazing at the moment, still trying to work out how the rest of the world crept up on it and pick-pocketed six of the last seven Majors, with only Mickelson able to look around with his wallet still in place and without a sand-bagged expression that says “Huh?”
It has been a particularly cruel sleight-of-hand to witness for the media here, who are more used to seeing Tiger, or Phil – or any one of another 10 Star Spangled players who have all carried off significant silverware in the past 10 years – standing in the winner’s enclosure at the end of the big events.
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
-Ex VP Atiku Abubakar on Restructuring.
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