Top 10 Reasons Rory McIlroy Is One of the Most Compelling Athletes in the US
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy touched hearts and minds last year when he won the U.S. Open, but he has the chance to become more than just a short-term champion.
He's already a one-name star in golf, and there's a good chance he will transcend the sport.
We think there are at least 10 reasons why.
10. He’s physically enthusiastic
Rory McIlroy is the “Tigger”—not Tiger—of golfers.
He doesn’t stroll down the fairway: He bounces.
It makes him look like he’s having a great time no matter what he’s doing, whether he’s fighting off a bogey or a double—or if he's just made eagle.
9. He can win big and win small
Rory’s score U.S. Open victory had an eight shot margin. His Honda Classic victory was by two shots but it had bigger meaning.
“In the way that I did it on Sunday with Tiger making the charge, it was almost more satisfying to do it that way, knowing that I held up under pretty intense pressure when I needed to,” McIlroy said. “Tiger posting a score and having to just play some smart and solid golf on the way in to finish off, and I was able to do that.”
8. He’s already made golf history in the U.S.
Rory’s score at the U.S. Open was a record at 16 under par. He was also the youngest winner since Bobby Jones in 1923. Recently he said a couple things that sound like Jones, too.
“To be honest in golf, you can have a rival if you want, but at the end the day, your biggest rival is a golf course," he said.
"You have to beat that. You have to be able to beat the golf course more often than not, and that's all you're trying to do.”
He said it’s not about beating a “rival.”
“Ultimately you're going to have to beat people coming down the stretch on Sundays—whether it's Tiger Woods, or Phil Mickelson, or Lee Westwood, or Luke Donald, or Martin Kaymer, or whoever,” McIlroy explained. “You know, I would never really want to say that I'm in a rivalry with someone. I just want to go out there and play good golf and solid golf.”
7. He’s approachable
Rory signs autographs for fans, poses for photos, waves, smiles and does all those things you would hope a good athlete would do.
“People from all walks of life and different sports have reached out to me to say well done," he said about his world No. 1 status. "So it's very nice to have so many people watching you and encouraging you and supporting you."
He had texts from many people including some of the Manchester United football players.
“Yeah, got one from Fergie (Alex Ferguson); got one from Wayne Rooney; Rio Ferdinand; a few of the United boys,” he said. “I got a lot. Greg Norman sent one to me. He left me a voicemail and a message.”
6. He crashed and burned and came back to win
The 2010 Masters, 10th hole.
Rory hit it off the planet and lost the tournament.
The 2010 US Open, he got ahead, stayed ahead, won by eight and didn’t look like he was breaking a sweat.
Said McIlroy about what he had learned at The 2010 Masters, “It was a big crossroads for me in my career, and I was able to go down the right path and do the right things to put everything right and win the next major.
"All I wanted to do was put myself in the position again just to see if I had learned and see if I could handle it better.
“It was a little easier obviously going out on Sunday at the U.S. Open because I had such a big lead, but I felt a lot more relaxed and a lot more sure of myself that day than I did the Sunday of Augusta.”
5. He has a sense of humor
How long will his No. 1 ranking last? “15 minutes,” he said.
4. He’s just 22
That means we have a lot of Rory years to look forward to.
“I feel like I've handled everything pretty well," he said. "And I've definitely matured a lot and I've learned a lot in the last couple of years.
"So everything that's happened to me has been hugely positive and you know, it's nice to be sitting here at 22 and have the No. 1 ranking and have won a major.”
3. He’s humble
“I've never said that I want to be the next anyone. I just want to be the first Rory McIlroy,” he said at Doral.
“You know, I always had putts on the putting green when I was 10 years old to beat Tiger Woods or to beat Phil Mickelson.
"But hopefully it would be great to turn that into reality at some point. They are the best two golfers of this generation, and obviously Tiger's the best by a long way.
"I mean, it's quite an honor just to be mentioned in the same sentence as those two guys. Phil has won 40 tournaments and four majors, and Tiger has won 14 and 70 Tour events, and here is me sitting with my third PGA Tour event, so it's a little different.
"Hopefully one day I'll be able to get to the stature of those two guys.”
2. He admitted he wanted to be No. 1
“It's great to get to this position and obviously I'd love to stay here for as long as possible,” he said. “I just need to concentrate on playing good golf, trying to win tournaments, and if I can do that, then the position I'm at in the world rankings will hopefully take care of itself.”
1. He’s Irish
So are a lot of people in the US.
Supposedly, more than 36 million Americans count themselves as being Irish.
Another 3.5 million call themselves Scots-Irish. In 2001, there were fewer than two million people in Northern Ireland, McIlroy’s home country, and about 4.6 million in neighboring Ireland.
Kathy Bissell is a golf writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?