A disheveled 22-year-old from Northern Ireland named Rory McIlroy smashed the scoring record at golf's U.S. Open this weekend, winning the championship with an eight-stroke cushion on his nearest competitor. The tournament began with low expectations, as sportswriters questioned whether the Open would even be worth watching since the sport's biggest draw, Tiger Woods, couldn't play due to injuries. But now everyone is wondering whether golf has a new superhero. Is McIlroy going to dominate the way Tiger once did? (Watch an AP report about McIlroy's victory.)
McIlroy is the next Tiger: If McIlroy's "swing were any sweeter, you'd get tooth decay," says Gene Wojciechowski at ESPN. He demolished the rest of the field as thoroughly as any golfer has, ever. This may only be his first major tournament victory, but make no mistake: When McIlroy kissed his U.S. Open trophy, he "officially became The Next Tiger Woods."
"Rory McIlroy breaks through with No. 1"
Rory isn't golf's king... yet: After this weekend's stunning U.S. Open, the McIlroy-Woods comparisons are inevitable, says Robert Lusetich at Fox Sports. The "composure — and ruthlessness" — that McIlroy displayed at the Congressional Country Club surely equaled Tiger at his best. But McIlroy has shown signs of greatness before, only to stall thanks to his weaknesses, including shaky putting and puzzling stumbles late in tournaments. McIlroy might very well become golf's next superstar, but it's "a bit premature" for his coronation.
"Let's let Rory be Rory"
Well, if he stays in this form, he's unstoppable: "Like Tiger in his youth," says John Cassidy at The New Yorker, McIlroy "makes a mighty swipe, involving lots of moving parts, that is so well synchronized it looks like one flowing, effortless movement." Swings like that demand a lot from a body, and they seldom last more than eight years. That will give McIlroy time to pile up as many majors as Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus, provided his putting holds up. "On this form, who could stop him?"
"U.S. Open: Rory strolls into the history books"