Rivalry is defined as “competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field.” It would seem Golf Channel (and other media) are guilty of trying to manufacture a rivalry which does not exist.
Let’s look at the wins for McIlory vs Fowler and see how much of a rivalry there really is at this point.
Rory McIlory has nine PGA Tour victories and seven international victories. Included in those are four major championships (one U.S. Open, two PGA Championships, one Open Championship). Current world raking: 1st.
Rickie Fowler has one PGA Tour win (2012 Wells Fargo) and one international win. No majors. Current world ranking: 11th.
The numbers speak for themselves. There is no rivalry. Not even a “budding” one. Until Fowler actually wins, this discussion is wasted brain cells.