Rory McIlroy Ushers In Golf's New Era With Dominating U.S. Open Win
After winning the U.S. Open by eight strokes yesterday, Rory McIlroy "represents a new dawn and will keep golf hip with his natural charisma," according to a sports section cover story by Steve DiMeglio of USA TODAY. Tiger Woods has not won a major since '08, and the "potential changing of the guard comes just in time" because golf has been "thirsting for the Next Big Thing." Golfer and fellow Northern Ireland native Graeme McDowell said, "He's a breath of fresh air for the game and perhaps we're ready for golf's next superstar and maybe Rory is it. ... He's going to be a great ambassador for the sport" (USA TODAY, 6/20). In N.Y., Mike Lupica writes, "It is McIlroy's time now, his moment. ... Truly, this was one of the great performances in the history of individual sports" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/20). In DC, Dan Daly: "This was a performance for the ages, one reminiscent of Tiger Woods' torching of Pebble Beach in 2000" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 6/20). GOLF.com's Cameron Morfit wrote under the header, "McIlroy's Rise A Huge Boost For The Game." McIlroy is "turning into Tiger Woods before our eyes, and not a moment too soon." Woods "carried the Tour for 15 years, and then he vanished without even asking anyone to cover his shift." The 22-year-old McIlroy "makes up for all of that." He is the "most compelling figure in the field as measured by more than just score" (GOLF.com, 6/18).
READY TO TAKE THE REINS: USA TODAY's Christine Brennan writes the timing of McIlroy's wire-to-wire victory "is almost too good to be true." Golf has been "searching for someone to fill the significant void left" by Woods. Brennan: "If McIlroy is the future of golf, the sport is in extremely good hands" (USA TODAY, 6/20).Golf analyst David Feherty said, "Rory has the talent to be a global force. If you watched him, it was obvious" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 6/20). In N.Y., George Willis: "Right now, McIlroy looks poised for greatness" (N.Y. POST, 6/20). In Columbus, Rob Oller writes under the header, "McIlroy Poised To Become Golf's Next Great Thing" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 6/20). GOLFWEEK's Sean Martin wrote under the header, "Golf Has Found Its New Star" (GOLFWEEK.com, 6/19). SPORTING NEWS' David Whitley: "Golf supposedly entered a new era Sunday. If that's true, pull up a chair and prop up your feet. This is one we can all relax and enjoy" (SPORTING NEWS TODAY, 6/20).
AMERICAN IDOL: In L.A., Jill Painter writes under the header, "Rory McIlroy Is Now America's Newest Sweetheart." McIlroy was the "star of an American lovefest Sunday," and his performance was "so good and so dominant and so pleasant, that we've hitched our star to him." Painter: "It's no matter that we've been searching for the next great American star. We've found a freckle-faced, lovable kid with curly hair, a sweet smile and unbelievable game" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 6/20). The BBC's Iain Carter writes, "This was an unprecedented outpouring of adulation for a foreigner they regard as one of their own. Why? Because their previous hero has fallen from his pedestal and there is no-one in the American game to take the place of Woods at the moment. ... Who better to fill the current void than a fresh-faced youngster who readily smiles his way around the course, engages with supporters and speaks with honesty and élan when a microphone is thrust in his direction?" (BBC.co.uk, 6/20). In N.Y., Bill Pennington writes, "Based on the surge of fans seeking autographs or just trying to be near him, he was easily the most popular golfer in the field. Now he is poised to make good on expectations that he could be golf’s next superstar, taking up a spot vacated by the faltering Woods" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/20). GOLF WORLD's Ryan Herrington: "At every hole fans broke out chants of 'Rory, Rory,' as if they were attending a professional football game rather than a professional golf tournament" (GOLF WORLD MONDAY, 6/20). Fox Business’ Chris Cotter said people "seem to like Rory McIlroy ... but he isn’t an American, and Americans ultimately like Americans to dominate their sports” (“Varney & Company,” Fox Business, 6/20).
the game of golf needs at the moment
A NEW CLUBHOUSE LEADER: In San Diego, Tod Leonard writes the "glorious, 14-year Tiger Woods Era officially ended" yesterday. McIlroy's victory was a "statement about golf’s past and future." Leonard: "A new generation has arrived and the older guys in their path better keep up or get out of the way" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 6/20). In Charlotte, Ron Green Jr. writes, "McIlroy was so good, he put Tiger Woods -- whose scoring record he broke -- in the past tense, at least for the moment. ... After all these years of looking for a rival for Woods, perhaps instead we found a successor" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/20). ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski: "McIlroy officially became The Next Tiger Woods" (ESPN.com, 6/19). In San Jose, Tim Kawakami: "This was the symbolic end of the Tiger Woods era -- not just because Woods was hurt and missed it, but because even if he were healthy, Woods at 35 and stuck in a midcareer crisis would’ve had no chance to beat McIlroy" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 6/19). In Cleveland, Bud Shaw writes, "The excitement surrounding Rory McIlroy is a reminder how much the PGA Tour misses Tiger Woods. Mostly because there is no 'next Tiger,' despite all the strained hopes to identify a new candidate in his absence" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 6/20).
ONE WIN AT A TIME: In DC, Thomas Boswell notes McIlroy's dominating victory "evoked Woods at the ’97 Masters." Both were "still fresh faces, instantly embraced as good for golf and capable of almost anything." Boswell adds, "Comparing Rory’s route to Woods in ’97 is still a stretch, especially considering all the sociological weight of Woods’s win. But the two are more on the same scale" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/20). Also in DC, Barry Svrluga writes McIlroy's win "may not have the social overtones of Woods's command performance at the 1997 Masters, nor the degree of dominance of Woods's win in the 2000 U.S. Open." Still, there is "solid evidence that what he pulled off could portend a change for his sport" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/20). In Chicago, Sean Jensen writes, "Let's cool the hype and hyperbole. Instead, let’s enjoy the brilliance of his performance" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/20). GOLF CHANNEL's Jason Sobel wrote, "It's premature to anoint the new world No. 4 as the game's lone shining star. ... Golf's advancement to the Rory McIlroy Era should be a gradual process" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 6/19). FOXSPORTS.com's Robert Lusetich writes, "One major does not an era of domination make. ... Let's let him be Rory McIlroy rather than trying to make him the next Tiger Woods" (FOXSPORTS.com, 6/20).
WELCOMING THE NEXT GENERATION: CBSSPORTS.com's Steve Elling wrote with Woods "on the shelf, and established stars turning gray before our eyes, the kids are playing a transition game that's quicker than full-court hoops at an urban playground." With McIlroy "joining Martin Kaymer, Charl Schwartzel and