The European Tour can be grateful that Rory McIlroy defused some of the fuss last week by announcing his intention to take up his PGA Tour card next season.
Like Padraig Harrington, McIlroy gives straight answers to straight questions and his candour is such that he unwittingly says things that would be pure dynamite if they were uttered by more established stars.
“The thing about Darren and Lee is they tried playing in America and it didn’t really work for them,’ said McIlroy, who asked Clarke, Westwood and his manager Chubby Chandler for advice on joining the US Tour and gave them the deaf ear.
Stay in Europe, get your knees brown, there’s no rush, they told him.
"I think they were giving me advice based on their experiences, whereas I’ve done pretty well in the States this year, and I love going over there,” McIlroy said.
"At the end of the day, I just want to challenge myself against the best fields in golf, and over there you have Woods and Mickelson."
Then he threw in a pineapple that turned out to be a grenade.
"I get the feeling that they would rather stay in Europe," he said. Ouch.
"I want to venture out, to test my skills and my game against the best in the world. Sometimes that’s in America, sometimes that’s over here."
As reported last week by colleague Bernie McGuire, Jeev Milkha Singh asked McIlroy if he really wanted to play more in the States.
“I love playing there,” McIlroy told him. “Well, there you go,” Singh said.
For a lad that grew up begging to be allowed watch the US golf on TV, it’s no surprise that McIlroy wants to take on the best.
And he wants to take them on at their peak, which is why Tiger Woods can take part of the blame for McIlroy’s move.
“Most of the events I’ll play over there will have Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker playing in them,” McIlroy said. “I want to challenge the best and the only way to do that is by playing in the best fields possible.”
During the WGC-CA Championship at Doral in March, Woods was asked if McIlroy could become world No 1 some day.
Woods replied: “There's no doubt. There's no doubt. The guy's a talent. Hopefully while I'm not around, or while I'm around. Certainly he has the talent. We can all see it: The way he hits the golf ball, the way he putts, the way he can chip, get up‑and‑down.
“He has the composure. He has all of the components to be the best player in the world, there's no doubt. It's just a matter of time and experience, and then basically gaining that experience in big events, that takes time, and I mean, geez, he's only 19. Just give him some time, and I'm sure he'll be there.”
Mark O’Meara said McIlroy was a more impressive ball-striker than Woods was at the same age. Ernie Els and Geoff Ogilvy can’t praise him enough and if things go to plan in Dubai, he will walk away on Sunday as the youngest European No 1 since Seve Ballesteros in 1976.
The kid who once dubbed himself Rory Nickfaldo McIlroy is now his own man.
Asked which route he would take to the top, the Seve way or the Faldo way, he didn’t hesistate.
“Nothing against Nick, but Seve had a lot more fans,” said McIlroy. “He was the man.”
Rory wants to be loved, not just admired.
As his dad Gerry often says: "Rors, you're the man."