Rory’s party piece involved a ping pong ball and a strong stomach
What more can you say?
There was no meltdown. There was no mental strength of a 13 year old girl. Rory closed it out with the style, flair and maturity that earned him a commanding lead at the top of the leaderboard over the first couple of days. He again peppered the pins with aggressive golf and there was no need for the ‘what I have I hold’ mentality that so many thought was necessary to get him over the line. When there was a blip, he kept his composure and got the juggernaut back on the road with the minimum of hook, slice or fuss. Such was the brilliance of his play, I momentarily forgot how awesome his hair is and there can be fewer great compliments than that. It was simply stunning and with the serenity that came from the absence of any hint of a last day collapse, it was only natural that thoughts began to turn to how many more Majors he would go on to add to the collection.
Clearly not everyone who manages to win a Major goes on to add several more to the tally, but for those few, they seem to be the types who excelled over four days and took advantage of substandard performances from their rivals. Rory bossed the US Open in a way that suggests dominance is a possibility. Premature it may be, but after popping his Major cherry, the mental block of winning one should be no more and the jittery nerves that have blighted Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and formerly Colin Montgomerie when the finish line was in sight, will hopefully no longer apply to McIlroy. His putting – for so long the bad hair day of his talent – was greatly improved and his decision-making far more sensbile under pressure than what we saw at Augusta. This was a complete performance that almost justifies the forests of hyperbole that will follow in comming days.
I’ve seen comments about not getting too carried away because it was one of the easier US Opens in recent history, but that point of view is lamer than Henrik Stenson needing a couple of attempts to break his club and getting a BandAid put on afterwards. Would you really call it easy? Only 20 of the 72 golfers who hung around for the weekend managed to go around under par and that’s excluding the ones who found the target of +4 too steep and had to pack their bags on Friday evening. It certainly lacked the out and out savagery of Pebble Beach or Winged Foot, but it still doesn’t qualify as easy and the way in which McIlroy subdued the monster was incredibly impressive.
It’s on to the British Open where Rory will face a different set of pressures. If the weight of expectation felt heavy on his shoulders up to this point, it’s going to get more burdensome from here on in. The signs are that McIlroy is able to handle it and with his head in the right place expecting more in future in understandable. Comparisons with Tiger are going to be inevitable, but as long as they remain confined to talking about his golfing prowess, Rory should be fine.