After basically giving away the Masters last April, many golf experts believed the stage was too big, too soon for the young Rory McIlroy.
After faltering down that nine hole stretch, how many majors would it normally take someone who gave away his first major to regain his or her composure, confidence and swing in order to compete, and win, their first major title.
For McIlroy, try just one.
The US Open, played this year at an expectedly tough Congressional, had all the makings for hard times and high scores. With extremely tight fairways, even smaller greens and rough that no average golfer can hit out of, McIlroy showed the world why he is poised to win MULTIPLE majors throughout his career.
The time to recuperate from a major meltdown is different for all players (see: Phil Mickelson), and Rory proved this week why he will not be a one-hit wonder champion with the likes of Louis Oosthuizen.
No, McIlroy might not have been the leader in fairways hit or number of putts, but when you hit more greens in regulation, you don’t have to be. Rory continually dazzled the millions watching at home with one spectacular shot followed by another. By making shots from the rough look like shots everyone else was hitting from the fairway, any person with golf common sense knew that this tournament was McIlroy’s for the taking.
Now, here is where all the statisticians and history buffs come into play following a dominating performance such as what McIlroy just turned in. They will tell you things like how he was the only competitor in the 60s each day, had the lowest total score in US Open history, and how he is only 22 years old and on his way to becoming this generation’s version of Tiger Woods.
Instead of comparing his feat to Woods’ 2000 Pebble Beach romp or any other compelling Open accomplishments, why don’t we just soak in what this young man has done in retribution for showing no gusto at Augusta. McIlroy looked like a lost child that last day back in April, and now only a short two months later, he has struck away those demons and hopefully plans on never returning to them in the future.
This Open could also have been a sign from the golf gods above, as if they were looking down on McIlroy before the start of the tournament and decided now was a good enough time to pay him back for what they did to him only a short time ago.
Better early than never.