Sympatico: McIlroy's U.S. Open Win Signals the Rise of Golf's New Superstar

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:

Hello world.

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.

The remainder of the column can be found here.


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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Tiger could learn a lot from Rory who, unlike Tiger, is gracious, approachable, humble and does not have that “I’m the best screw the rest of the world” attitude. While Rory has a long way to match Tiger’s on the course achievements, he is a more rounded individual with a supporting family that has helped Rory become a very good person, not just a talented golfer. Sorry Tiger but all the people you treated badly on your way up won’t be there on your way down. By the ay Robert, nice article. Any plans to review any Southeastern US courses, particularly around Hilton Head?

  • Prairiedog-I concur…

    Dominating performance by Rory, and yet another Major Champion for golf’s Premiere Tour, The European Tour. How refreshing was the broadcast without ‘Fed Ex Cup’ updates and projections every 5 minutes!

  • prairiedog

    I think you’re bang on here with Tiger and why so many people like Rory. It seems like everyone I’ve talked this past week was pulling very hard for him to win. Who knows, we could be saying “Tiger Who” in a few years if Rory can will a couple more Majors before he turns 25.

  • I would change your headline to “Sympatico: McIlroy’ s U.S. Open Win Signals McIlroy’s U.S. Open Win.”

    He won, he set some records and everything was in impressive fashion, but I find it amusing how just prior to the U.S. Open all media outlets were crying about how there is no real favorite going into the Open and now…after one event…he is the second coming.

    I think Rory is great and has a lot of potential, but it’s one event. Lets give the guy some space and enjoy whatever he is going to give us.

    If you ask me, Jack’s record will be safe for a LONG time. The true great one of golf.

  • “Golf has been waiting for a star to emerge from the shadow of the faded glory of Tiger Woods,”

    What a load of hogwash! I think the only ones hoping for a star to arrive have been all the armchair analysts, writers and broadcasters covering the sport of golf. The past few years they seem to be more interested in putting out stories that belong on the pages of the “National Enquirer.” How far they have fallen.

    Prior to this years US Open, Rory had all of two wins since turning pro…pretty good, but not what one could call dominating. He appears to have all the ingredients to develop into an exceptional golfer but let’s not forget that there are alot of very talented professionals holding a tour card. I’d like to see him succeed at his chosen sport but more importantly, to excell at being a positive role model. Then we could call him “a star.”

  • Men’s Golf has excelled when there was a clear dominating performer with others trying to de-throne him…think Arnie, Jack, Tiger (and to some extent Greg)…

    Golf is more exciting when there is a clear dominating star. Rory seems to have the goods – attitude, rock solid swing, and now a major under his belt having contended in each of the last 3 majors prior to the US Open victory.

    Rory is not a typical touring pro. Typical touring pros do not lap the field of a US Open.

    And if his post Masters meltdown reaction / behaviour is not an example of being a positive role model, I do not know what is. For other less stellar examples, think Sergio with his whining after the Open played at Carnoustie and cup spitting incident at Doral. We need more Rory’s thank you.

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