By Brian Keogh
Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.
By carding a 71 to win by two shots from Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler at Hoylake, the Holywood star became only the third player after legends Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods to win three of the four majors by the age of 25. He also ended all speculation about his ability to prepare well and execute on a links course.
Now the little boy who used to wake his mother up by banging her on the head with a plastic club wants to go on and complete the set by winning the Masters next April. Not only that, he wants to take up the mantle of Tiger Woods and become golf’s next dominant player.
Dedicating his win to his mother, who saw him win a major for the first time. Rory said: “My mum hasn't been at the previous two major wins. It was just my dad. And it was just great to see her on the back of the 18th there and how much it meant to her. I was trying not to cry at the time because she was bawling her eyes out. The support of my parents has been incredible with the sacrifices that they made for me growing up.
“They're there for me at the worst of times, like this time last year after missing the cut at Muirfield, or the best of times walking off as the champion golfer of the year this year.”
The first wire to wire winner of the Open since Woods in 2005, McIlroy now looks set to become the game’s next dominant figure.
Winning a green jacket would make him that man and he's up for the challenge, declaring: “Golf is looking to someone to put their hand up and I want to be that person. I want be to be the guy that goes on and wins majors and wins majors regularly.
“I've had chances before to kick on as I did after my second major at Kiawah. I kicked on for another six months and played really well. I just want to think ahead and go forward and try and win as many tournaments and as many majors as I can, because I feel like there's a lot more left in me.”
As for Augusta, where he led by four shots going into the final round in 2011 but blew up with a closing 80, he said: “I've always been comfortable from tee to green at Augusta. And it's just taken me a few years to figure out the greens.
“I’ll be going into Augusta next year pretty confident.”
Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.