The comparisons to Woods and Nicklaus will be inevitable now that McIlroy has won his first major four months before Nicklaus won his, now that he has as many majors as Woods had at the same age. “Nothing this kid does ever surprises me,” said last year’s champ Graeme McDowell, McIlroy’s countryman from Northern Ireland, who went out to No. 18 to congratulate him. “He’s the best player I’ve ever seen. I didn’t have a chance to play with Tiger when he was in his real prime, and this guy is the best I’ve ever seen, simple as that. He’s great for golf. He’s a breath of fresh air for the game and perhaps we’re ready for golf’s next superstar and maybe Rory is it.”
“Rory from a very early age was destined to go on and win majors,” said three-time major winner Padraig Harrington. “There are 1,000 kids like that in some part of the world right now that will end up with miserable lives for the amount that will come through. But Rory’s life was set up for this and he has delivered.” Rory McIlroy proved that he learned from his last round collapse at Augusta National, where some wondered if he’d be come back after his collapse. “I told you I got over Augusta quickly. I don’t know how many believed me but here, it’s nice to prove some people wrong,” McIlroy said, stroking the U.S. Open trophy. “To get one out of the way early, you can always call yourself a major champion and hopefully in the near-distant future I’ll be able to call myself a multiple major champion. “
Among Sunday’s highlights was a birdie on the first hole, just to show he wasn’t going to be giving anything back to the field and a near-ace on No. 10, where he finished about a foot short of the hole after Yang had hit his in close. That birdie gave him a 10-shot lead and got him to 17-under, the lowest any man has ever gone in a U.S. Open. He would later admit that he was trying to get to Woods’ 15-shot winning margin from 2000, that he was trying to “emulate” Woods.
“Just growing up and watching him dominate the Masters in ’97 … just trying to go out there with the same intensity that he has and the same ‘no lead is big enough,’ ” McIlroy said. “I was trying to go bogey-free today. I was trying to go out and make no mistakes and really not let anyone catch me. I’m just happy to be sitting here with the trophy that has (Woods’) name on it.”
Well done to Rory from all of us at Golf Direct and we wish him well in next month’s Open Championship.