Is too much being made of Rory McIlroy’s remarkable runaway win at the U.S. Open yesterday? Is Padraig Harrington speaking in hyperbole when he says the Irish twenty-something could break Nicklaus’ record? I look at that in my Sympatico column that went live last night:
It may have taken a few more months than initially expected, but 22-year old Irishman Rory McIlroy closed out his victory at the U.S. Open in a fashion that could only be described as Tiger-like.
It was a blowout. A wash. A runaway. Along the way he shattered U.S. Open scoring records with ease. It was a dominating performance.
Whatever you want to call it, McIlroy showed that he learned from his implosion at The Masters just two months ago and is poised to become the most exciting player out of Europe since the Seve Ballesteros, also 22 at the time, announced his brilliance to the world in winning the 1979 British Open.
Golf has been waiting for a star to emerge from the shadow of the faded glory of Tiger Woods, and McIlroy with his class, youthful enthusiasm, and astounding abilities, appears to be exactly that. He has the impressive power of Woods and a game that suggests the possibility of greatness, but without the perfunctory attitude of his fallen peer. Instead he’s gracious about his success, never forgetting that his father once worked three jobs so his teenage son could afford to pursue his dream.
McIlroy is close enough to his teenage dreams that he remembers practicing putts at Holywood Golf Club in Ireland while envisioning that if they fall, he’ll have won one of golf’s most prestigious titles.
“I’ve always dreamt about one day being a major champion, but to actually sit here and to be able to call yourself one is very nice,” he said in his modest and understated fashion. “All I wanted to do was play golf when I was growing up. I wanted to become the best that I could be.”
Now he is exactly that.