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Padraig Harrington thinks Rory McIlroy is more Phil than Tiger

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf

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Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington — Getty Images

It has been a pretty forgettable 2013 for Rory McIlroy, the No. 2 golfer in the world. After switching gear to start the season, Rory struggled to get going, and after a second place finish at the Valero Texas Open it seemed that things would start turning for the better, but that wasn't the case.

Rory struggled at the Masters, finished T-57 at the Memorial and was never in the equation at the U.S. Open. His play across the pond hasn't been much better, missing the cut at the BMW PGA Championship in late May and again missing the cut last week at the Irish Open.

What's the deal with Rory? Padraig Harrington actually makes a pretty keen comparison of the 24-year-old. Maybe it isn't Rory, it's the way we perceive Rory. For years the title of "the next Tiger Woods" has followed around the Northern Irishman, but there is a player that makes more sense when comparing McIlroy to some of the legends.

“Rory is compared to Tiger a lot, but maybe he's more like Phil Mickelson: very talented, very streaky," Harrington said.

If you simply take a look at how Rory has played in the majors, this makes a ton of sense. McIlroy has won two majors by a combined 16 shots, but sprinkled between the U.S. Open and PGA Championship wins are no top-10s in any of the majors, including a missed cut at the U.S. Open last year and a number of high finishes for a kid as talented as Rory.

Tiger has always been one of those rare athletes that absolutely hates to lose, but more than that, he wants to finish one spot higher no matter where he sits. When Tiger is T-23rd heading into Sunday, he wants to finish T-22, and some guys, like Phil, aren't as invested in golf tournaments they aren't going to win. Rory seems to have a little of that in him, and while it isn't an insult to the two-time major winner, it's just who he is.

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