What they're saying
"I think he's going to have a great career and be great for the game. … 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." — Jack Nicklaus, 18-time majors winner in an NBC telephone interview
"As I've said before, I think he has probably the most talent I've ever seen from a golfer. Lovely to watch him play, such a fluid motion, and he hits it far." — Luke Donald, the world No. 1, who finished at 5 over
"You can tell that Rory has had this type of talent in him for some time now, and to see him putting it together is pretty neat to see." — Phil Mickelson, who finished 7 over
"I think he's still growing, and it's just scary to think about it." — Y.E. Yang, who played in the final group the last two days and finished at 6 under
"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." — Graeme McDowell, 2010 champion, who finished at 2 under
"What a performance from start to finish. Enjoy the win. Well done." — Tiger Woods, in a statement
"He lapped the field, and for such a young age, how mature he is. Golf right now is in a really, really good spot where Rory McIlroy is right now." — Jason Day, whose runnerup score of 8-under 276 would have been enough to win 26 of the last 30 U.S. Opens
At the club in Holywood, Northern Ireland, where Rory McIlroy learned to play golf, they celebrated from the first birdie Sunday. Many pints were downed and songs sung, including an impromptu Rory, Rory Hallelujah. Members of the Holywood Golf Club were glued to the television, and a man kissed the large screen in the clubhouse's main bar after McIlroy won the U.S. Open by eight shots. "We're massively proud," club member Tommy Trimble said. "It was incredible." The club overlooking Belfast Lough bent its rules to let McIlroy in as a member at age 7, because he showed such promise. McIlroy's father started taking him to the club even before he could walk.
Biggest U.S. Open victory margins
15 2000, Tiger Woods (272), Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ernie Els (287), Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif.
11 1899, Willie Smith (315), George Low, Val Fitzjohn and W.H. Way (326), Baltimore CC, Baltimore
9 1921, James Barnes (289), Walter Hagen and Fred McLeod (298), Columbia CC, Chevy Chase, Md.
8 2011, Rory McIlroy (268), Jason Day (276), Congressional CC-Blue Course, Bethesda, Md.
But wait, there's more
Rory McIlroy became the third U.S. Open winner to shoot four rounds in the 60s, joining Lee Janzen in 1993 and Lee Trevino in 1968. He is also the youngest Open champion since 21-year-old Bobby Jones won in 1923.
Efforts out in the field
• Charl Schwartzel shot 66 to put him at 4 under for the championship, a U.S. Open score that often would have been good enough for a Masters champion to make it two majors in a row. Schwartzel, though, said he began the tournament thinking 10 under would be the winning score. "I played pretty spectacular today, actually," he said. "I wish I had four of these (rounds)."
• Phil Mickelson's U.S. Open ended where it began, in the same body of water. On his last hole Sunday, Mickelson stood in a greenside bunker launched a rainbow that splashed on the fly, some 15 feet beyond the other side of the peninsula green. After two unsuccessful drops on the steep lakeside slope, he had to place the ball and chip back toward the pin, where he made a 6-footer for double bogey to finish an even par round of 71 and a 7-over total of 291. The lake also received Mickelson's opening shot in his first round Thursday, when he started on the nearby par-3 10th and left his tee shot well short. He double bogeyed that hole as well. "I thought that the soft conditions obviously made it a little bit easier than everybody had hoped, but the setup was wonderful," he said. "I just didn't play how I'd hoped."
• Patrick Cantlay, 19 and the top amateur at the U.S. Open, shot 72 to finish tied for 21st at even par — while learning just how taxing a major championship can be. "I'm really tired," he said. "I felt it on the back nine. But you know, it's such a great experience to be here, and it's been an amazing week. I'm really excited, and adrenaline kind of kept me in it." Cantlay, above, just completed his freshman year at UCLA, where he plans to stay until he earns his degree.
• Kevin Chappell, below, was just as hot as Rory McIlroy over the final three rounds of the championship, shooting rounds of 67, 69 and 66. It helped compensate for an opening 76 and lifted him into a tie for third. "There's a lot to soak in," said Chappell, whose best career finish on the PGA Tour is a second place at this year's Texas Open. "Hopefully lock up my card for next year, which is also a big relief, and just really try and enjoy it." Chappell also matched Robert Garrigus as the top American in the field.
Course ripped again
Congressional, which had been softened by rain and cloud cover, was throttled by the field again. The USGA did nothing to try to protect par, moving tees forward to tempt players to take some risk. The result was a whopping 32 rounds under par Sunday. The previous record of 18 final rounds under par was at Baltusrol in 1993.
Wire to wire U.S. Open winners
Rory McIlroy 2011
Tiger Woods 2002
Tiger Woods 2000
Tony Jacklin 1970
Ben Hogan 1953
James Barnes 1921
Walter Hagen 1914