US Open champion Rory McIlroy said he is planning to take a break from golf before playing at next month’s Open.McIlroy arrived at Heathrow from America on Tuesday morning after winning his first major by a record-breaking eight-shot margin on Sunday.”It feels good, it feels great. It’s nice to be able to call myself a major champion,” he said.”I’ve got three weeks off and then the British Open so I want to take it easy and let it sink in.
“The 22-year-old produced a stunning display at Congressional to become the second straight Northern Ireland US Open champion following Graeme McDowell’s victory last year.The new world number four produced rounds of 65, 66, 68 and 69 for a 16-under-par total – four better than the previous record mark.Other US Open milestones included becoming the quickest player to reach 10 under (after 26 holes) and the lowest 36-hole total of 131.
And golfing legend Jack Nicklaus has warned McIlroy he must be able to handle his celebrity status if he wants to become a golfing great.Nicklaus was less than five months older than McIlroy when he won the first of his record 18 major titles.The American, who won the US Open four times between 1962 and 1980, said on his official website: “If he wants to be a great golfer, he needs to learn how to deal with it.”He will be and already is a celebrity, but he is a golfer first.”In this day and age, it’s very difficult. He needs to make certain golf is the first thing, as well as his motivation and desire to be great.”My motivation was that I wanted to be the best I could be in the sport, and once I got close to Bob Jones’s record, that became a motivation.
“I think Rory has got his head screwed on pretty well and I think he’ll keep it there. It was obviously an unbelievable performance.”Englishman Tony Jacklin, whose seven-shot victory in the 1970 US Open was Europe’s first in the tournament for 43 years and the last for a further 40, said things were certain to change for McIlroy.”Life as he knew it has ended. He has such a great way about him and great technique,” said Jacklin.”But whether he will break records depends on how he organises his life quite frankly. Stability of your family life is so important.”Rory is clearly good enough to win many more, but you can’t do it without a plan.”How do you get away from the attention when you don’t want it? Everybody needs down-time and it’s harder living in the UK or Ireland.”You need people around you can trust and he has plenty of examples of what to do and how to organise.”This year’s Open takes place at Royal St George’s starting on 14 July. – BBC