Sports / Golf

From Holywood to Hoylake: the rise of Rory

By Agence France-Presse in Hoylake, England (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-22 07:31

From Holywood to Hoylake: the rise of Rory

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland sits on the edge of a bunker as he holds the Claret Jug after winning the British Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, northern England July 20, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

McIlroy also started to make his mark on the US PGA circuit and in May 2010 he recorded his first win on US soil by firing a final-round course record of 62 to take the Quail Hollow Championship.

But it was at the majors that he needed to shine most and with Woods at that time hobbled by injuries and a sex scandal, the sport was badly in need of a new superstar.

McIlroy looked the part but at a tender age he originally made the headlines more for his collapses at the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews and the 2012 Masters.

In the latter case, he led by four strokes entering the final round but endured a total meltdown in the full blaze of the media spotlight, limping home with an 80.

Rather then brood on that, McIlroy rebounded two months later to win the US Open by a whopping eight strokes. The following year he took the US PGA Championship by the same outlandish margin and he topped the world rankings.

McIlroy's star suddenly faded in 2013 when he struggled with problems on and off the course.

But a win in the Australian Open late in the year and then a very public split with tennis-playing girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki in May paved the way for the Irishman to again produce his best golf.

What happened this week at Royal Liverpool proved McIlroy is the true heir apparent to Woods as the world's best golfer.

It remains to be seen just how many majors he can win in a competitive career that could last another 25 years.

Close friend and fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell says it should be worth keeping tabs on.

"I can just sort of sit back and admire how good Rory is and we'll watch from there, really. But third leg of the Grand Slam at 25 years old, it's pretty good," he said.

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