by Jeff Skinner
Each time a major championship rolls around we all hope for an exciting and historic tournament. Thanks to Rory McIlroy we weren’t disappointed this week. The young Northern Irishmen took control of the 111th U.S. Open early on and he really never gave anyone a chance to catch him. With four stellar rounds of golf he closed out the deal that had evaded him at The Masters and won his first major championship in historic fashion.
His sixteen under par total gave him an eight shot cushion over his nearest competitor and he set a dozen records in the process. The comparisons to Tiger have started again and the expectations have multiplied astronomically. But that’s really unfair for a young golfer that hasn’t had a chance to revel in his well deserved victory.
At twenty two years old Rory McIlroy is one of the best golfers in the world. Winning a major so young can be a double edged sword. On one hand McIlroy has reached the pinnacle of his short professional career. On the other he is now expected to win more majors and quickly before he is labeled a one hit wonder.
But we need to step back and pause for a moment and let Rory celebrate his extraordinary win. There is no need for the comparisons to Tiger. We don’t need to start the “Rory versus Jack” scoreboard just yet. What we should be discussing is the quality of the young man that just toasted the best golfers in the world.
Rory had it to seventeen under par and a ten stroke lead before he finished with an eight stroke lead. It was a truly dominating performance by a young man so composed and self assured that he deflects any comparisons to the greatest golfers and is just happy to have his hands on the championship trophy.
With his father here all week to advise him Rory was loose and relaxed. He played the U.S. Open with a confidence and peacefulness that belied his age. When he did hit a wayward shot he showed no sign of losing his temper and quickly recovered. His course management and his temperament were as critical to this victory as his solid swing was.
It’s hard to imagine a more popular champion at this venue save for Phil Mickelson. Rory felt the love all week and with good reason. There isn’t much to dislike about Rory McIlroy. He is a skilled golfer for sure but more than that he is the kind of young man you would want as a son. He’s open, honest, considerate and humble. He gets it. He knows to treat people the way he would want to be treated. He was quick to acknowledge his parents and all they did for him to help him live his dream. After he sunk the winning putt he hugged his father and thanked his mother and you could tell that Rory knows the sacrifices his parents made to get him to where he is.
Gerry McIlroy got a special gift on Father’s Day. His son earned his first major championship but long before Rory held that trophy Gerry knew he had something special already.