Sports fans who try to live an ethical life are often pulled in two directions by their favorites. What Dodger fan could, with a clear conscience, pull for drug-cheat Manny Ramirez to hit one out of the park? And what Redskins fan could root for Albert Haynesworth to sack the opposing quarterback, after the 300-pound tackle stomped on an opposing player’s face with his football cleats.? And what fans of the Vancouver Canucks or L.A. Lakers could go on feeling good rooting for their teams after ugly displays of pure brutality?
Well, all of us do, even though we know we’re rooting for deeply flawed individuals.
But then a new hero comes along with a dazzling smile, so apparently pure and strong of character that we fall in love again. So it is with Rory McIlroy, winner today of golf’s U.S. Open by an unheard of eight strokes with a record low Open score of 268. At 22, McIlroy is the youngest Open winner since the legendary Bobby Jones won in 1923 at age 21.
After earning praise here for an extraordinary display of grace and sportsmanship after his game collapsed in the last round of the Masters—as it had in last year’s British Open—McIlroy exorcised his inner demons and (more…)