When Tiger Woods was in his prime with no signs of slowing down, the questions arose about who might rise up to challenge him. As Tiger began having lower body injuries that required medical leaves of absence from the PGA Tour, talk of who might be the next captivating figure in the world of professional golf got louder. Sponsors began worrying about potentially sinking ratings were there not a figure to whom fans would be drawn with Woods on the sidelines, worries which increased significantly when Tiger’s off-course proclivities came to light. Not only was his image tarnished, but Tiger Woods decided it was time to put his career on the back-burner while he sought to mend his personal relationships.

Given his performance in recent tournaments, most notably the 2011 U.S. Open, Rory McIlroy is being looked at as the heir apparent. In an interesting editorial (from an author they failed to name), the USA Today likens Rory McIlroy to Luke Skywalker, the young Jedi around whom the original Star Wars trilogy is based.

Though they don’t seem willing to fully liken Tiger Woods to Darth Vader, but the parallels could certainly be made. I don’t mean to call Tiger Woods a villain by any means, but to understand the extent to which I would continue the comparison of the PGA golfers to the analogous Star Wars figures, you’d have to understand how I view Darth Vader. Both the elder Skywalker (Darth Vader being Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s biological father, underneath all the life-support-providing robotics) and Tiger Woods were both talented young men who rose to become the most powerful forces in their respective worlds. There was a downfall for both of them which centered around their growing ego, a sense of entitlement and a relationship with a woman. The links to Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth are certainly present, there’s no denying it.

The editorial itself only touches on those aspects, but primarily sets up the comparison between Rory McIlroy and Luke Skywalker. For that to be an accurate one, I’d have to think that McIlroy would have to go head to head with Tiger Woods on a big stage, be it the final day of the Masters or even the Ryder Cup, and it would have to be at a time when Tiger Woods was atop his game and looking to reclaim his status as the top golfer in the world.

As an interesting sidenote, Rory McIlroy was the first golfer to ever be co-featured on the cover of Tiger Woods’ annual video game when the duo graced the cover of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. In the picture, the two men are depicted with hues reminiscent of the Star Wars characters USA Today is likening them to; Tiger Woods is wearing red and black like Darth Vader, whereas McIlroy is depicted wearing white, standing in front of a blue flag (though Luke’s lightsaber was green at that point, he had previously used blue).

To read the full editorial as it appeared on USAToday.com, go here.