Hoylake: Rory McIlroy has three of the four majors safely in the bag and he is already thinking about adding the final piece of golfing's crown jewels at Augusta National next April.
Rory McIlroy with his British Open trophy. Pic/Getty Images
The 25-year-old Irishman won the British Open for the first time at Hoylake on Sunday by two strokes from Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler. It was less of a margin than the eight strokes he beat the field with to take the 2011 US Open crown and the 2012 US PGA Championship, but it was every bit as valuable.
Elite group of golfers
He joined an elite group of players to win three out of the four majors, is only the third — after Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus — to do so by the age of 25, and is the first European to win three. A lot to take in at one time, and McIlroy is aware of where he now stands.
"Yeah, I'm immensely proud of myself. To sit here 25 years of age and win my third major Championship and be three-quarters of the way to the career Grand Slam," he said minutes after raising the Claret Jug in triumph.
"It's been a great year. The win at Wentworth (in May) was huge. And obviously getting my third major is a huge step in the right direction. There's many more tournaments and many more trophies that I want to win.
Top of those will be defending the Open crown next year at St Andrews, and then the challenge of Augusta and the chance to become just the sixth player to win all major titles.
"I am looking forward to next April and trying to complete the career Grand Slam," he said.
Hoylake: Rory McIlroy did everything right during his dramatic British Open victory on Sunday only to mess up in the end. His victory speech was going well until he said: "Even though I’m a Manchester United fan..." This attracted loud boos from the crowd.
McIlroy must have forgotten that Hoylake is only a few miles from Liverpool, Man United’s fierce rivals in the English Premier League. The golfer quickly realised his error and moved on.