McIlroy back on cloud nine
GOLF:THE POST-round duties seemed to go on for an age, an endless string of photo calls – on the 18th green, on the beach, in the media centre, everywhere – and, through it all, just as he’d exhibited on the golf course in claiming the 94th USPGA championship, Rory McIlroy was composed and yet exuberant. The Boy Wonder took it all in his stride. This was what Sunday nights at the Majors are all about for only one person, the champion.
Yesterday, McIlroy woke up with the Wanamaker Trophy perched on a bedside locker and, before long, was on duty again. This time, a photo shoot for Oakley, one of his sponsors, at Kiawah Island. Later, he would make the journey on to Cincinnati – where girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki is playing a tennis tournament – and, so, started the next phase of his life as a multiple Major champion with designs on more.
For McIlroy, the immediate future is a string of high-profile tournaments in the USA: he’ll return to competitive action at next week’s Barclays Championship at Bethpage in New York, followed in turn by the other FedEx Cup series tournaments at the Deutsche Bank, the BMW and the Tour Championship before lining out as Europe’s talisman in the Ryder Cup at Medinah.
McIlroy’s record-breaking win – does he do it any other way? – in the USPGA in the final Major of the season prompted him to re-evaluate his own assessment of his season’s work. Before the championship, he had termed a “good” season up to then as a B, but, post-win, offered the view than he deserved an A+.
After all, his USPGA win – to add to his US Open win of last year – returned him to the number one spot in the official world rankings, brought his career winnings on the European Tour to over €13 million and reinstalled him to the top of the Race To Dubai standings.
McIlroy also moved to second, behind Tiger Woods, on the US Tour money list.
Yet, it is the Majors which define a player’s season and a player’s career. And McIlroy, who blew away the field over the Ocean Course to claim a second career Major title, is acutely aware of where he is headed.
“I am not trying to emulate or trying to match anyone. I have got my second now, which feels unbelievable and I am going to enjoy it, and I will be working towards my third,” he said.
“And, hopefully, when I get that I will be working towards my fourth and so on. I just have to enjoy this moment and enjoy getting that second one.”
McIlroy, who won the Honda Classic on the US Tour in March and spent time as world number one before losing that accolade to Luke Donald, admitted: “It has been a huge learning year. To cap it off with a Major victory, I couldn’t ask for any more. It has turned an already good season into a great season . . . there’s been a lot of things that have changed in my life, that I’ve had to handle and how to handle them the right way, and to find that balance. I feel like I’ve been doing that pretty well.