McIlroy says he can handle pressure of stardom

A lot of pressure may come with being considered Tiger Wood’s heir apparent but U.S. Open champion Rory Mcllroy said he is confident he can handle the pressure.

The 22-year old Mcllroy’s first major victory at the Congressional a week ago was done in record-breaking style leading to comparison between him and Woods. Mcllroy however said he will try to stay grounded even with the expected soaring of his status.

“With success comes expectation, and I know the expectation on me is going to be pretty high,” McIlroy told Sky Sports TV on Wednesday. “I expect big things from myself, but as long as I can keep the commitment and dedication and put the hard work in, I don’t see why there’s any reason not to handle it OK.”

Mcllroy’s eight-shot margin in the U.S. Open revived the 12-shot victory of Woods when he won his first major title at the age of 21 in 1997 at the Masters.

A lot of people were surprised at how Mcllroy handled the field and the course over a four-day period considering that he had only won two tournaments in his professional golfing career.

“Last week was fantastic, incredible,” he said. “The golf I played, I’d never played before in my life. I just hope I can keep it going.”

After returning to Britain Tuesday, it only took 24 hours for Mcllroy to return to his hometown club in Holywood in the course where he was trained to reach for the star.

The past two years have been very good for Northern Ireland golf fans with back to back wins in the U.S Open, starting with Graeme McDowell a year ago and now Mcllroy.

“I remember going up to Portrush and seeing Graeme when he came back home, and it’s nearly exactly a year later that I’m doing the same thing,” McIlroy said. “What Graeme did last year at Pebble Beach definitely inspired me to go on and believe that I can win major championships, to follow in his footsteps and bring the trophy back to Northern Ireland.

“To think that no European had won it in 40 years before Graeme and then the two of us won it back to back. Growing up in tough (golf course) conditions, like the US Open usually is, probably helped us. But I don’t think you can explain having two back-to-back U.S. Open winners from a country of 1 1/2 million.”

Mcllroy is spending some time with his family after his U.S. Open victory and will be back at the Royal St. George’s in Sandwich in southeast England for the British Open on July 14.