Sandwich, England Rory McIlroy slipped into his seat without great fanfare Tuesday, his presence detected by a sudden burst of camera shutters when the photographers realized the star of this British Open had arrived.
It was his first time at a news conference since that Sunday evening at Congressional, and it all looked familiar except that the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland no longer had the shiny U.S. Open trophy at his side.
In its place were expectations of many more majors to follow, perhaps starting with this one.
With a record-setting performance in the major billed as golf’s toughest test, McIlroy has emerged as the favorite to join an elite group of players to capture the U.S. Open and British Open in the same year.
McIlroy knew it was quite an achievement, setting scoring records at the U.S. Open and winning by eight shots. Only in the three weeks he has spent at home has the magnitude started to sink in.
“I didn’t realize how much of a fuss it would create or how much of a buzz,” he said. “It’s been nice. I thought it was great for me to win the U.S. Open, win my first major. The support that I’ve had from people back home, from everyone all over the world, has been pretty overwhelming.”