We usually look to success and experience for inspiration, but once in a rare while we can be inspired by failure and inexperience. If character is sometimes defined by how we react to failure, then 21-year old Rory McIlroy is an inspiration, a man of real character.
McIlroy was on the verge of claiming one of sport’s greatest awards, the green jacket and the $1,440,000 that goes to the winner of golf’s Masters tournament. He had a four-stroke lead going into the last round, and a one-stroke lead with nine holes to play. Then disaster: a triple-bogey 7 on 10, a bogey 5 on 11, and a double-bogey 5 on 12 and McIlroy was out of contention, finishing with a score of 80 and a tie for 15th place.
Walking off the 18th green he was met by a sportscaster with a microphone. McIlroy didn’t run from the mike.
CBS reporter Peter Kostis asked what happened. McIlroy didn’t whine, didn’t complain, didn’t offer an excuse.
“I thought I hung in pretty well in the front nine, I was leading the tournament going into the back nine. Just hit a poor tee shot on 10 and I just sort of unraveled from there. Just sort of lost it 10, 11, 12, and couldn’t really get it back. It’s one of those things, I’m very disappointed at the minute and I’m sure I will be for the next few days, but I’ll get over it. I’ve got to take the positives, and the positives are I led this golf tournament for 63 holes. I’ll have plenty more chances, I know that. It’s very disappointing what happened today and hopefully it will build a little bit of character in me as well.”
McIlroy already has more than a little bit of character.