Homecoming hero now world no. 3
Holywood golf star Rory McIlroy has climbed the rankings to become number 3 in the world, behind British duo Luke Donald and Lee Westwood.
He overtook Martin Kaymer when the German failed to finish in the top eight at the BMW International Open in Munich.
The US Open winner received a rapturous welcome home last week but has remained characteristically humble and apart from partying with JLS after their weekend gig, is having a three week rest after his record shattering eight-shot victory at Congressional.
He will be back in action for the Open at Sandwich on July 14-17 — a win there stands to make his dad Gerry and three of his pals a hefty return after they placed a wager years ago that McIlroy would win the British Open before the age of 25.
Commentators were comparing McIlroy to Tiger Woods in his prime during the US Open and the prospect of a head to head would have golfing hearts racing. Woods has not won a title since November 2008 and has been out of action since mid-May because of knee and Achilles injuries. He has yet to decide whether he is fit enough for The Open.
McIlroy is making the most of Tiger’s bad luck. "It's a good time for me to win things when he's not playing his best," said the 22-year-old on Sky Sports News.
He added: "The first thing for Tiger is to get healthy and see what happens from there.
"I don't know if anyone can answer if he'll get back to where he was 10 years ago, but a lot of people would like to see him back on the course."
The Holywood man won his first major title at the US Open by eight shots and with a record 16 under par total in Washington, finishing on Sunday, June 19.
"To have these 10 days off is very nice — now I can try to win The Open," McIlroy said.
"A lot of things go into winning a tournament. Obviously there's preparation and needing to play well — and you need a bit of luck.
“But I feel as if I'm playing well and have a really good chance of winning and that's all you can ask for.”