2011 US Open Golf: 15 Reasons We Won't Forget This Tournament
How he won, in McIlroy's own words
"Even when I got here last week to do my practice rounds and everything, I felt like this golf course was well suited to me," McIlroy said after his victory. "The conditions helped, as well, you know. It was soft. With my high ball flight, I was able to stop it on the greens. When you hit the fairways like I was able to this week, you're going to give yourself a lot of opportunities for birdies."
Biggest point in the round: The 10th hole
"I thought that was probably the biggest point in the round because Yang had just stuck it in there close. So to follow that shot up with mine was pretty cool. To get the ovation coming on to the green, it was nice.
"And I was very happy to play the 10th and the 11th hole at 1‑under par today, because they were two holes that you had the possibility of making a big number on. And to play those at 1‑under par was big for me."
On the future
"You can always call yourself a major champion. And hopefully in the not so distant future, I'll be able to call myself a multiple major champion."
On Augusta National
"I felt like I got over the Masters pretty quickly. I kept telling you guys that and I don't know if you believed me or not. But here you go. Nice to prove some people wrong."
Inspiration from a friend
"I think when Graeme (McDowell) won last year, it made me realize that winning a major championship was achievable, attainable. To see a great friend like that win a major, it only inspires you."
The 15 things we will remember
1. American players no longer dominate our national open. There were only three US players in the last five pairings on Sunday. For trivia buffs: Robert Garrigus, Matt Kuchar and Bo Van Pelt.
2. Rory McIlroy is as good as the Europeans said.
"He's a player with tremendous potential, and winning fulfills that potential and makes it easier to keep going," Padraig Harrington said about McIlroy's victory.
"The probability of Northern Ireland producing back-to-back US Open champions is a lottery number," Graeme McDowell said. "There's no doubt my win last year has given Rory the belief to do it, and Charl and Louis."
3. With Tiger Woods out, McIlroy was just the shot in the arm that golf needed. Galleries were five, six and 10 deep, filling up hillsides and lining the ropes tee to green. It was packed.
4. McIlroy's scoring records nearly obliterated the ones set by Woods 11 years ago. (See "Rory's records" below.)
5. Woods did not start, fueling questions about his ability to complete in the future.
6. It was a fun US Open because the golf course allowed some scoring. It wasn't bogey, bogey, double, triple. It was at least a lot of pars and a few birdies.
7. People who like car wrecks on the golf course went home disappointed. Andy North and Curtis Strange said on ESPN that they were grumpy about the course playing easy. It was only easy for one guy. The rest of the field was grinding. No one shot a 63 or 64.
8. Europeans can have breakfast and dinner together and then try to beat each other's brains out on the golf course. Lee Westwood and McIlroy were regular meal companions all week.
9. Sergio Garcia still has fight in him.
10. Congressional may not be tough enough to host another US Open.
11. Jason Day is definitely a name to watch in future majors.
12. Dave Stockton is still the go-to guy for putting.
13. If Rory curses on the golf course, we don't see it or hear it.
14. Phil Mickelson had a bad start with a ball in the water, and even his amazing scrambling ability did not pull him through. The birdie well was dry.
15. Rory's records:
- McIlroy's total of 268 strokes breaks the 72-hole U.S. Open scoring record of 272, previously held by four players: Jack Nicklaus, 1980; Lee Janzen, 1993; Tiger Woods, 2000; Jim Furyk, 2003.
- McIlroy's total of 16-under par breaks the 72-hole U.S. Open record for most strokes under par, previously at 12-under held by Tiger Woods in 2000.
- McIlroy is the only player in U.S. Open history to reach 13-under-par, 14-under-par, 15-under-par, 16-under-par and 17-under-par.
- McIlroy hit 62 of 72 greens in regulation, the most in a U.S. Open since the statistic has been tracked.
- At 22 years, 1 month, 15 days, McIlroy is the youngest U.S. Open champion since Bobby Jones, 1923, at 21 years, 3 months, 28 days.
- With the victories by McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, both from Northern Ireland, this is the first time there have been back-to-back international winners from the same country since Alec Ross (1907) and Fred McLeod (1908), both from Scotland.
- McIlroy became the fourth player in U.S. Open history to shoot four rounds in the 60s, joining Lee Janzen, 1993; Lee Trevino, 1968; Billy Casper, 1966 (including one round in playoff).
- McIlroy is the seventh start-to-finish winner (no ties) in U.S. Open history, joining Walter Hagen, 1914; Jim Barnes, 1921; Ben Hogan, 1953; Tony Jacklin, 1970; Tiger Woods, 2000 and 2002.
- The last four major champions are all first-time major winners and all are in their 20s—Louis Oosthuizen (British Open), Martin Kaymer (PGA Championship), Charl Schwartzel (Masters), and McIlroy (U.S. Open).
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.
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