Great expectations swirl around McIlroy, the ‘Celtic Tiger’

BETHESDA, Maryland, (Reuters) – Rory McIlroy’s  runaway victory at the U.S. Open on Sunday has sparked excited  speculation about what may follow in a manner not witnessed  since Tiger Woods obliterated the field at the 1997 Masters.

Woods clinched his first major title by a record-breaking  12 shots at Augusta National and has gone on to claim a further  13 grand slam crowns while cementing his status as arguably the  greatest player of all time.

Northern Irishman McIlroy is celebrating his first major  success at the tender golfing age of 22 and has the potential  to compete at the highest level for at least another 18 years.

The curly-haired prodigy, who supplied early evidence of  his golfing skills when he hit a 40-yard drive aged just two,  has long been regarded as the heir-apparent to Woods.

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