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McIlroy wins U.S. Open at age 22

by Derrick Johnson on June 20, 2011

Golfer Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland has won the U.S. Open, his first major title, at the age of 22.

The New York Times calls McIlroy the potential future of golf, a sport that has seen its youthful champion Tiger Woods fall from great heights.

Woods won the U.S. Open in 2000, at the age of 24.

The only other player who has won the championship at such young an age was Bobby Jones in 1923, who was only 21 at the time, reports the N.Y. Times.

"I think [McIlroy's] going to have a great career and be great for the game," golf legend Jack Nicklaus told the news outlet. "He's a nice kid. He's humble when he needs to be humble and he's confident when he needs to be confident. He wants to learn and he wants to get better. That's everything you need."

Nicklaus is not the only golfer to have praise for McIlroy. Graeme McDowell won the U.S. Open last year and called McIlroy "the best."

"Nothing this kid does ever surprises me," McDowell, also an Irishman, told the news source. "He’s the best player I've ever seen. He's great for golf. He's a breath of fresh air for the game and perhaps we're ready for golf's next superstar and maybe Rory is it."

McIlroy has a Twitter account which says "I hit a little white ball around a field sometimes," and the new champion has posted the following tweet as of Monday morning:

"Thanks to everyone for all the messages over the past few hours. It was a very special week for me. Proud to be a major champion!"

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