It’s an amazing story really. In 2003 when Tiger Woods was dominating Earth, winning 5 events, finishing 2nd on the money list and winning another PGA Player of the Year Award.
Robert Rock was selling tees and golf gloves as a club pro in England. He was struggling with his game, his confidence was probably in the toilet, giving swing lessons to guys who probably can’t break 95, but he plugged along and became an official tour pro. Nine years later he took on the greatest players in the world and walked along side one of his heroes in the final round of the HSBC in Dubai and didn’t back down. Some players would have cracked. We have seen it a million times when Tiger shares a lead on a Sunday.
The end result was his 2nd tour win, but the fact that he held off Tiger, Rory, Westwood, McDowell and Luke Donald symbolizes the stones this guy has. He didn’t get a 2.5 mill appearance fee. He has to earn the food he puts on the table. He fought off a few tears as he was interviewed after the trophy presentation. You could feel the emotion of what the win means to the 34- year-old.
As Tiger inches towards the Tiger we are used to seeing, although he is starting to become just an average player on Sundays with the lead, Rock took a Bullet Train up the world rankings starting the week at 117 and is now in the top 60 which means he is entered into a lot more events, including the Accenture World Match Play and if he gets into to the top 50, it’s hello
You might remember Rock’s name last summer during the US Open at Congo where he qualified, but his visa was delayed and he flew from England to New York the day before the event. He ended up with a top 25 finish without even one practice round. He’s the type of guy I love to root for. He was awestruck by Tiger. He even admitted standing on the practice range admiring Tiger’s swing this week. He’s gracious and grounded unlike Woods, who probably big timed all of Abu Dhabi this week. He hasn’t won on the PGA or Euro Tours since Sept of 09, but he won the Aussie Masters 26 months ago.
The golf world will be talking about Robert Rock this week, not Tiger.
BTW, the Aussie Final between Rafa and Joke was nothing short of incredible. I hope you watched.