Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Now Rory is the new young lion

By Gail Walker

Published 22/06/2011 | 08:00

US Open Champion Rory McIlroy arrives at Terminal 5 of London's Heathrow Airport
US Open Champion Rory McIlroy arrives at Terminal 5 of London's Heathrow Airport
Rory McIlroy pictured with the US Open trophy at George Best Belfast City Airport last night
Local shops congradulate US Open Champion Rory McIlroy in Holywood ahead of his return home
Holywood has been celebrating Rory McIlroy's US Open win
Rory's Uncle Colm Mcllroy and Stephen Crooks, Head Professional at Holywood Gold Club, pictured with members.
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and his father Gerry McIlroy pose with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland holds the trophy next to Stuart Cage (L) and Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler after his eight-stroke victory during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy kisses the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy for photographers after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Fans at Rory McIlroy's home club in Holywood watch their hero win the US Open
Fans at Rory McIlroy's home club in Holywood watch their hero win the US Open
Fans at Rory McIlroy's home club in Holywood watch their hero win the US Open
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland speaks with the media after his eight-stroke during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke with caddie J.P. Fitzgerald victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks to the 18th green with his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland takes his putter from his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald on the 13th hole during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland (R) celebrates his eight-stroke victory with his father Gerry McIlroy (L) on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy for photographers after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks to the 18th green with his caddie J.P. Fitzgerald during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Golf fans cheer as Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches a putt on the 18th hole during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green to win during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland kisses the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - JUNE 19: Fans watch the play of Rory McIlroy during the final round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy won the US Open with the kind of style, relaxation, dominance and sense of destiny that we have come to expect only from people born in other places far away. Funnily enough, Northern Ireland is now that far away place for golf fans - and romance fans - the world over.

The only thing that could possibly top Graeme McDowell winning last year's US Open was Rory pulling himself up from the devastation of the US Masters only a few weeks ago to triumph so spectacularly in Washington.

Plus, he's modest, down-to-earth, self-effacing, charming - while it would be too much to say those are characteristics of the Northern Ireland male down through the ages, it's certainly true to say that one look at Rory and you'd know where he was from.

Only Northern Ireland could produce the epic to beat the last epic. McIlroy has fulfilled one part of his potential and slaughtered all the doubters and cynics.

Sadly, for the rest of the world, that is, the other part of his potential is to dominate golf - and our TV screens - for the next 10 years.

It's goodbye Tiger. Here's the lion's Rory.

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