x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Rory roars to glory

Golfer Rory McIlroy, 22, just became the youngest-ever US Open champion. He's a fine example of the promising next generation of pro golfers. And with his UAE connections, he's a good role model for young people in this country, too.

Two months ago, going into the final round of the Masters at Augusta National with a lead of four shots, young golfer Rory McIlroy looked set to win his first major open tournament. With the eyes of the world on him, however, McIlroy's game disintegrated, shot after shot missing its target. His collapse was painful to watch and he finished in 15th position.

Many a golfer would never have recovered from such an ordeal. But this tough 22-year-old from Northern Ireland is no ordinary golfer .

On Sunday McIlroy became the youngest-ever US Open champion, posting a breathtaking 16-under-par 268, a record for the event. To have recovered so quickly from his Masters disaster is proof of his talent, maturity and mental toughness.

Irish newspapers hailed McIlroy as the next Tiger Woods, and fans at his hometown course in County Down hung on his every shot.

Here in the UAE we have reason to beam as well. McIlroy's first professional career win came at the Dubai Desert Classic in 2009, and the global ambassador for the Jumeirah Group is also often seen practising with his friend, the number one player in the UAE, Khalid Yousuf.

With golf increasingly becoming one of the most popular sports in the country, aspiring local players could do a lot worse than look up to perhaps the most gifted player of his generation.