BOSTON (CBS) – Ten weeks ago, Rory McIlroy saw his fourth round lead at the Masters slip away.
On Sunday, he was confident the same fate was not awaiting him at the US Open. McIlroy went out and shot a final round 68 to complete four days of dominance at the Congressional Country Club in Washington DC, and at the ripe age of 22 won his first career major by eight strokes.
Did he ever imagine it would happen so soon?
“Honestly, probably not,” McIlroy told to WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton at Willowbend Golf Club in Mashpee on Monday morning. “I always dreamt of winning majors and trying to become one of the best golfers in the world. To actually do it and make it a reality is something special.”
Watch Part 1 of Steve Burton’s interview with McIlroy:
Fresh off his US Open win, and with no sleep, McIlroy was at Willowbend for a private event sponsored by Fireman Capital Partners. He played a round of golf along with the likes of Vijay Singh, Ian Poulter and others.
McIlroy is the second youngest player to win a major at 22 years and 46 days, trailing only Tiger Woods who won the ’97 Masters at just 21 years and 100 days. McIlroy, who hails from Holywood, Northern Ireland, first broke on to the scene in 2009. He has been said to be the next “great one,” finishing in the Top 10 in five of his first 10 majors. He is very mature for his age, but his collapse at the Masters made some wonder if he had what it takes to win the big events.
He put those questions to rest over the weekend.
“To put myself in the position to win another major right after Augusta and to go ahead and win it proved not only to myself, but everyone else I didn’t to let Augusta affect me,” he said, US Open trophy in hand.
“As soon as I got to Congressional, I felt the golf course set up well for me. I just went out there and played some really good golf. I played some of the best golf I’ve played in my life,” he said in what could be one of the biggest understatements of the year. “I gave myself such a big lead going into the weekend, I knew I just needed to consolidate that and I did it.”
Watch Part 2 of Steve Burton’s interview with McIlroy:
“Going into yesterday… I would have needed to do something stupid to lose this one,” he added.
After his August meltdown, McIlroy made a call to his father, Gerry, who was home in Northern Ireland. Gerry worked three jobs when Rory was younger so his son could pursue his dream to play professional golf.
There was no phone call needed on Sunday, as Gerry was standing by when his son finished up his record run at Congressional.
“It was very special to have Dad with me the entire week,” he said. “To share this with him and give this trophy to him as a father’s day gift was something we’ll both never forget.”
“Mom and Dad sacrificed a lot for me to help me develop my golf,” he told Burton. “It’s just great that I can sort of repay them in some way, going out and winning championships like this.”
His US Open victory shot him up to 4th in the world rankings. Is McIlroy ready take the top spot?
“Yeah,” he said confidently. “I don’t practice for nothing.”