Ali had Frazier…Nicklaus had Palmer…Magic had Bird… Sebastian Coe had Steven Ovett…Federer had Nadal…
The best simply do not want to share the limelight with anyone else. However, in history, across all of sports, the best also had a rivalry, someone pushing them to be better.
In the past two years, Rory has become Tiger’s rival. It is the main reason why Tiger has returned to greatness. Rory McIIroy claimed the #1 ranking and has since won two majors. Tiger’s previous major was back in 2008. Tiger was golf for Nike. Now, Rory shares the Nike sponsorship and headlines.
Lets face it, no one else has been able to serve as a threat to Tiger. Tiger’s greatest competition was himself…The closest, Phil Mickleson, was more of a media created rivalry to Tiger much more than their actual competition on the course. They were also complete opposites in terms of personality.
Rory on the other hand, IS Tiger. When Tiger looks at Rory, he sees a younger him, confident, talented, and driven. It is this rivalry, which has propelled Tiger to reclaim his spot as the #1 golfer.
I have always maintained that Tiger will break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors. I could be wrong, but the presence and success of Rory McIIroy has re-ignited that drive and passion for Tiger to be the best golfer in the world.
In order to be the best, you have to beat the best…. This is a quote we’ve heard throughout the ages. It is true that we should compare ourselves to who we were yesterday and examine if WE are on the path toward improvement.
However, when we examine the BEST in history, they had one thing in common, a rivalry. Who is your competition that drives you to be better?
Dr. Rob Bell is the author of Mental Toughness Training for Golf, an AASP certified Sport Psychology consultant, and caddy on tour. He consults with athletes, coaches, and teams at all levels helping build and enhance their own mental toughness. His website is www.drrobbell.com and you can find him on Twitter @drrobbell,