And it begins: Rory vs Tiger

I hope the media does not do to him what they tend to do all of the time.  Let this young man be who he is without being compared to every other golfer before him. Let him enjoy his moment in the light.

With a record-setting performance at the U.S. Open this weekend, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy rose from “up-and-coming young golfer” to “the next Tiger Woods” in the eyes of some golf observers before anyone had a chance to anoint him as something in between. Golf fans clamoring for a dominating star to once again take over the game and capture the public’s attention the way Woods once did climbed over each other to crown McIlroy the sport’s new king. “By the time dusk settled over Congressional Country Club on Sunday evening it was clear that golf had found its challenge to Tiger Woods,” Yahoo’s Les Carpenter writes, “even if it comes in the form of a man barely 22 years old with freckles on his face and the bushy hair of a teenager.”

McIlroy finished the tournament at 16-under par, the lowest total ever for a U.S. Open win. The victory was even more impressive considering McIlroy’s brutal meltdown in the final round of the Masters in April, tying a record for the highest shot total (80) for a 54-hole leader. “This wasn’t a poetic payback,” the Journal’s Jason Gay writes. “This was a beautiful evisceration. McIlroy won this Open by reclaiming his swagger.” Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail says that this performance puts us all on “McIlroy time” now, predicting that this tournament will be looked back upon at the next turning point in the game of golf. “If the Woods era has ended, the McIlroy era has officially begun,” Samuel writes. “Those who did not take advantage of Woods’ fall from grace to grab some glory of their own may live to regret it.”

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