The world of golf’s next star has been born.
Rory McIlroy, 22, shattered the U.S. Open record by four strokes to win his first major on Sunday, making him the golf tournament’s youngest champ since 1923.
He polished off a 2-under 69, finishing at 16-under par. The last 10 U.S. Open champions combined were 14 under.
It was an impressive comeback for McIlroy after he fell apart at the Masters in April.
The Northern Ireland native walked off the 18th green and into the arms of his father, Gerry, who worked three jobs so his only son could pursue his passion. Not even he could have imagined a day like this.
“Happy Father’s Day,” McIlroy told him.
Dad had a Northern Ireland flag draped over his green shirt.
“Unbelievable,” he said. “With what’s happened over the last couple of months, and to come back and do this, it’s fantastic. After the Masters, he worked so hard. I really can’t put it into words. And on Father’s Day, it’s fantastic. You couldn’t beat it.”
It was the second straight U.S. Open title for the tiny country of Northern Ireland, and defending champion Graeme McDowell walked back across the bridge to the 18th green to embrace the new winner.
“You’re a legend,” McDowell told him.
McIlroy knows the Tiger Woods comparisons have started, and said he was actually trying to emulate Woods. But, not only did he emulate him, he broke the record Woods set at Pebble Beach in 2000.
The Twitter-verse has been reacting:
“What a great day for golf … just as Tiger seems to be fading from the scene, a new superstar is born.”
“Before we get ahead of ourselves, or behind: took Tiger two-and-a-half years to win his second major after Augusta in 1997.”
“Congratulations to Rory McIlroy on winning U.S. Open. I hear he is best driver in golf, but he looks so young, when did he pass test?”
And despite what was likely a late night, McIlroy tweeted: “Thanks to everyone for all the messages over the past few hours. It was a very special week for me. Proud to be a major champion!”
Woods issued a statement about McIlroy’s win: “Congrats to Rory … what a performance from start to finish. Enjoy the win, well done.”