McIlroy ends year with an MBE
Rory McIlroy has ended a glorious year with another prize after being awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List.
The 22-year-old Northern Irishman has been recognised six months after producing one of the sport's great performances to win the US Open. McIlroy claimed the second major of the year at Congressional by an astounding eight shots in a tournament record score of 16-under-par 268.
McIlroy said: "I am delighted to be named in the Queen's New Year Honours list. It is quite humbling to be included in such a list of worthy recipients."
He added: "Many people on the Honours list have made huge personal sacrifices and contributed significantly to society during their lives. I feel very fortunate to be in their company."
McIlroy's US Open win was all the more remarkable coming just two months after a demoralising final-round meltdown at the US Masters.
McIlroy had started the last day at Augusta with a four-stroke lead but shot 80 to finish in tied 15th. Few doubted his talent but many feared he might never recover from the blow to his confidence.
To his credit he put on a brave face, saying he would have many more opportunities to win majors. He proved true to his word with his emphatic victory in Maryland.
It was some statement of intent and a powerful endorsement of his ability.
Immediately the future assessments for his career changed from how they had read after Augusta.
Most began to predict the sky - in terms of trophies and earnings - was the limit. If he continues to fulfil his rich potential, many more prizes will follow.