Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy has set his sights on winning more majors after his maiden triumph in the US Open.The 22-year-old led from start to finish at Congressional to become the youngest major champion since Tiger Woods won the Masters in 1997.”To get my first major out of the way quite early on in my career, especially after what’s happened the last couple of months, feels great,” he said.”Now, I’m looking forward to putting myself in the picture for many more.”The new world number four produced rounds of 65, 66, 68 and 69 for a tournament record, 16-under-par total of 268, four better than the previous mark.McIlroy had previously only won one US Tour title and one European Tour title, but showed his talent in majors by finishing tied for third in last year’s British Open and US PGA Championship. He was poised to make the Masters his first major title when he held a four-shot lead going into the final day earlier this year, but a meltdown on the 10th hole led to a triple-bogey and he ultimately carded a final-round 80.There would be no collapse at Congressional, though. With an eight-shot lead going into the final round, McIlroy showed few signs of nerves and stretched his lead to 10 shots with two birdies in the opening four holes.He made only his second bogey of the week after driving into sand on the 12th, but kept up the momentum with a number of crucial putts on the back nine.His first three-putt of the week at the 17th saw him drop a shot but he held his nerve for par at the last to banish his Augusta demons and win his first major title by eight strokes – the fourth highest winning margin in US Open history.The victory has led to McIlroy being made odds-on favourite with bookmakers to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011.Andy Murray, who is set to play at Wimbledon this week, is among the other leading contenders for the accolade, while other major sport events to come this year include the Rugby World Cup, which starts 9 September in New Zealand.Arriving at his press conference, McIlroy took a photo of the US Open trophy and posted it on Twitter with two words: ‘Winning’ and ‘bounceback.’
“I felt like I got over the Masters pretty quickly,” added the second youngest European major winner of all time – and the youngest since 1872.”I kept telling you guys that and I don’t know if you believed me or not. But here you go. Nice to prove some people wrong.”Now, McIlroy is eyeing up a duel with former world number one and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, who missed his first US Open in 16 years due to leg injuries.”When I was growing up, I always had putts to beat Tiger Woods in the Masters or US Open,” added the man from Holywood, Northern Ireland. “So it would be great to be able to get in contention one day…and go down the stretch with him because I’ve never really had that experience before.
“Prime Minister David Cameron was among those to pay tribute to McIlroy.”Congratulations to Rory McIlroy on a tremendous win at the US Open and his first major title,” he said.”At just 22, the youngest US Open Champion for 88 years, he has already shown himself to be at the top of his sport.”He’s an incredible talent and clearly has a very exciting career ahead of him.”On Monday, McIlroy’s countryman Darren Clarke withdrew from this week’s European Tour event in Munich because he wants to be in Northern Ireland for the world number four’s homecoming party.The 42-year-old, who did not qualify for the US Open, will compete at next month’s Open at Sandwich through his 30th place on last year’s money list. – BBC