Rory McIlroy, a 22-year-old from Northern Ireland, made history on Sunday at the U.S. Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD. Finishing the U.S. Open at 16 strokes below par, he won the tournament by the widest margin of victory in its history and broke the record set by Tiger Woods, who took the Open at 12-under par in 2000.
McIlroy’s triumph, however, came as a surprise after his performance at the Masters in Augusta this spring. After leading the first three rounds of the April tournament, he choked on the back nine, shooting triple bogeys and making headlines for the one of the worst final rounds for a frontrunner in Masters history, according to the Washington Post.
Having turned around his game in record-setting fashion, McIlroy has spectators wondering if the youngster will replace Tiger Woods as golf’s next superstar. McDowell, last year’s U.S. Open winner and the first from Northern Ireland to win the title, surely thinks so. “Nothing this kid does ever surprises me,” he told Sky Sports, “He’s the best player I’ve ever seen. I didn’t have a chance to play with Tiger when he was in his real pump, and this guy is the best I’ve ever seen, simple as that.’’
For now we’ll have to wait and see. McIlroy, now ranked at No. 4, will play in the British Open over the first weekend of July and in the PGA Championship at the end of August.