By Mike Stachura
Not Jordan Spieth. Not Rickie Fowler. Not even Lydia Ko. Heck, not even LeBron James or Peyton Manning. No, among those bastions of excellence and fair play, only Rory McIlroy has been named to the list of the “Ten Best-Mannered People” by the National League of Junior Cotillions.
“The selections are made based on each person’s commitment to honor, dignity, and mannerly conduct,” said NJLC president Charles Winters. “We feel these ten individuals have distinguished themselves through excellence of character and conduct and applaud them for their contributions to society.”
For those not familiar with the NJLC’s work, it’s a collection of 300 local chapters nationwide that teach etiquette and other social skills to boys and girls from kindergarten through high school. Its stated mission: “To act and learn to treat others with honor, dignity and respect for better relationships with family, friends and associates and to learn and practice ballroom dance.”
The NJLC’s list grew out of nominations from cotillion students and directors nationwide. Specifically, McIlroy, who was No. 3 on the list, was honored “for displaying exemplary sportsmanship, taking the time to engage with his fans, and treating his fellow golfers with nothing but dignity and kindness.” McIlroy was behind Olympic standout gymnast Simone Biles (No. 1) and actor Matt Damon (No. 2).
Perhaps even more remarkable is that McIlroy was ranked ahead of Fox News presidential debate moderator Chris Wallace, the late Hall of Fame basketball coach Pat Summitt and both of the Obama children. He was a full seven spots ahead of Sasha and Malia.
No doubt, McIlroy’s gracious sportsmanship in his epic Sunday singles match at the Ryder Cup stood tall in his favor. His good humor during an interview with a nervy 9-year-old Billy Jenkins probably helped, too, as did his donation of his entire winner’s check from this year’s Irish Open to the Rory Foundation to benefit sick and disadvantaged kids.
While the committee must have overlooked a few mis-steps, wrong turns and awkward moments over the years, we can see McIlroy as a sure winner with kids.
But Spieth has to be miffed. We’ve got to believe he’s at least attended a cotillion before.
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