US Open Champion hits the headlines

6/20/2011 1:37:13 PM
Rory McIlroy holds the US Open trophy aloft  (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy holds the US Open trophy aloft (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy’s triumph made front and back page news in the UK and his native Ireland.  The headline in his local daily newspaper, the Belfast Telegraph trumpeted:  ‘A champion, a great…and he’s ours’.

Correspondent Peter Bills wrote: “How appropriate. On Father’s Day, watched on the course by his own dad Gerry, Rory McIlroy completed the mother and father of all major championship performances to win the coveted US Open title in what was more a slaughter of the field than a mere victory.

"The young Northern Ireland player’s measured stride towards glory was never in the slightest doubt on the final day at Congressional Country Club. “

Karl McGinty of the Irish Independent wrote: “US Open week began with suggestions from Ernie Els that McIlroy is good enough to "change golf history". As it came to a climax yesterday, the Northern Irishman's record-breaking feats on the Blue Course led rivals to regard him, potentially, as the new Tiger Woods….. It's mind-boggling to think of such a small country as Northern Ireland producing successive US Open Champions or of five Major titles coming to our small island since Harrington broke a 60-year drought at Carnoustie in 2007.”

The Irish Times golf correspondent Philip Reid enthused: “The clarion call was distinctive, and the response unerring. And, in this 111th edition of the US Open, Rory McIlroy – destiny’s child – answered the cry from those who bestow such favours with a breathtaking display never previously witnessed in this storied major championship: he shot a finishing round of 69 for a record low 268, 16-under-par, to claim a breakthrough maiden Major at Congressional Country Club yesterday.

“This wasn’t about laying the ghosts of the Masters at Augusta to rest, where he had melted under the heat of trying to finish the job. No, this was about McIlroy – the 22-year-old Ulsterman – moving on and utilising his talent; and how! Here, on a beautifully sunny day, he delivered on his destiny with a commanding performance that ultimately left him eight shots clear of his closest pursuer, Australian Jason Day.”

Simon Lewis of the Irish Independent wrote: “The previous night, as he contemplated an eight-shot lead after 54 holes, McIlroy had calmly explained to those who still doubted his new-found mental strength that he had learned from his mistakes at Augusta. In fact, his Masters heartbreak had never become a monkey on his back, the poor chimp had not even got close and had been probably buried underneath the scorer’s hut on the hill above Augusta National’s 18th green, so quickly and efficiently did McIlroy set about attacking the US Open set-up from Thursday.

Kevin Garside of The Daily Telegraph, caught the mood by writing:  “To walk with McIlroy at Congressional has been to witness a new dawn; in golf certainly and maybe in sport. The 22 year-old has in his own characteristic and beautiful way returned effortless grace to the centre of the golfing enterprise. His swing has been deconstructed by the experts and adjudged to be as perfect a motion as might be achieved, a thing of bio-mechanical wonder, transforming complexity into art. Nicklaus observed that McIlroy was way ahead of him at the same age.

“And on the inside, too, there is a generous soul refreshingly free of artifice, one that sees the good in life not bad. McIlroy is the kind of lad who lets others pass through doors first, who says please and thank you. And he has utterly lit up the US Open almost perceptibly drawing a line under the Tiger years of ruthless, death-mask diplomacy.”
Peter Dixon, Golf Correspondent of The Times, noted: “Coming into the final round with a lead of eight shots over Yang and nine over three others, including Lee Westwood, was a simple illustration of his dominance. Put simply, this was McIlroy’s “shock and awe” approach to the US Open, an overwhelming display of force that destroyed his adversaries’ will to fight.”

Derek Lawrenson of the Daily Mail enjoyed reporting on his 100th Major Championship, with the words: “Long before the end, the young man who had stumbled so horrifically over the final nine holes at Augusta National in April had changed before our eyes into a player so sure-footed that every hole over the same inward stretch here formed part of a glorious coronation.

“This was not only the finest display of major championship golf ever played by a man from these shores, it surely ranks alongside a couple of Tiger Woods's greatest hits as the most wondrous played by anyone, anywhere. “

In the Independent, James Corrigan, observed McIlroy’s coronation thus:  “Rory McIlroy, the irresistible young Congressional candidate, was sworn in last night as golf's new global leader after a victory in the 111th US Open which was as thrilling for the game as it was chilling for his rivals. Washington is well accustomed to landslides but even the nation's capital was left open-mouthed by the one-sided nature of this contest.

“When the 22-year-old tapped in on the 18th to become the youngest European winner of a major in 139 years he was eight shots clear of Jason Day in second. Has there ever been a greater contrast between a player at successive majors? At the Masters, the Ulsterman was a crumpled figure after a final-round 80 which broke a million hearts. Just two months later he stepped on to the final green like a colossus, with the world, and more particular its mother, weeping at golf's ultimate redemption.”

James Lawton wrote in the same publication: “Records are records, however they come but never, you have to suspect, have they represented quite such a sublime expression of the beauty and coherence of a player of huge national gifts.”

Over at The Guardian, Correspondent Lawrence Donegan wrote: “McIlroy's winning score of 268, 16 under par, was a record for an event that has been staged 111 times and competed for by every great golfer who has lived during that time. His margin over the second-placed finisher, Jason Day of Australia, was eight shots, well short of the record set by Tiger Woods when he won in 2000, but the dominance shown by the Northern Ireland player was on a par.

“Like the great American in his prime, he simply outclassed his peers. He also stripped the Congressional course of its brutish reputation. The US Open is not meant to be this easy but McIlroy made it so.”

Neil Squires of the Daily Express commented: “Wearing blue on the Blue Course for the fourth successive day as he aimed to become the first man since Woods in 2002 to win the US Open wire to wire, McIlroy stepped out on a sultry Sunday to a reception The Last Big Thing would have been proud of in his prime. Having shared in McIlroy’s pain at Augusta, the galleries in Maryland have taken him to their collective heart. The Ulsterman’s combination of natural genius and boyish vulnerability crosses national boundaries.”

The Sun’s David Facey wrote: “Rory McIlroy celebrated Father's Day by falling into his dad's arms as a Major champion after a glorious US Open triumph.  McIlroy, 22, mouthed the words "Happy Father's Day, this one's for you" to dad Gerry after banishing the memories of his Masters meltdown in April.
He destroyed his rivals at Congressional, romping to an eight-shot win and collecting an £887,506 winner's cheque. Northern Irishman McIlroy admitted his victory felt even sweeter as Gerry was there to see him bounce back from his Augusta nightmare.”