Related News

Home » Sports » Golf

McIlroy leads teenage parade

BRITON Rory McIlroy leads an infusion of young blood into the season's first major championship as one of three teenagers making their US Masters debuts tomorrow.

The 19-year-old from Northern Ireland is the oldest of a teen trio, including 18-year-old US Amateur champion Danny Lee of New Zealand and 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa from Japan.

"I think it's great for the tournament and for golf in general," McIlroy told a news conference in Augusta, Georgia, on Monday.

"You look at Ryo Ishikawa, he's won twice on the Japan Tour, once as an amateur, and Danny Lee, won the US Amateur last year and on the European Tour this year, and myself.

"It's great for golf. Hopefully it inspires people that are not that much younger than us to take up golf and try and one day emulate what we have done."

McIlroy, ranked 17th in the world with a win at this year's European Tour Dubai Desert Classic, said the trio had been inspired by top-ranked Tiger Woods.

"We can relate to him in a way, especially that first Masters," said McIlroy, who was mobbed by fans clamoring for autographs as he made his way to practice on Monday.

"He was only 21 and you could sort of relate to someone that age. You were thinking to yourself, 'Well, hopefully when I'm that age, I can do something like that'."

Woods shot a record low total, won by a record 12 shots and became the youngest champion when he won in 1997 in his first Masters as a professional.

"It was definitely inspirational to see someone come out and make such a great start to their professional career. That's what I've always wanted to do. You know, if I can play well enough this week, I might be able to emulate it."

McIlroy, a golf prodigy whose amateur successes at a young age drew comparisons with Woods, said he was thrilled to be at Augusta but not overwhelmed.

"It's been a dream of mine for a long time to be able to play in the Masters, and for that dream to finally come true is a pretty special feeling," said McIlroy, who practised at Augusta last Sunday before returning for Masters week.

"I thought I would be nervous hitting my first shot here. Maybe if I was a little younger...I would have been in awe of the place.

"But having been on tour now for a year and a half, I'm not really one to get overwhelmed by much these days.

"I don't feel like a 19-year-old. I feel like I've matured very quickly since coming on tour, and I'm sure Danny and Ryo will tell you the same thing."

It is rare for the Masters to have three teenagers in the field, but the youth movement goes beyond them. Over the last year, especially with Woods taking an eight-month break from golf because of knee surgery, more younger players are starting to thrive. Two of whom stand out.

Anthony Kim, 23, won twice on the PGA Tour last year and was the inspirational leader on a US team that finally won the Ryder Cup; and Dustin Johnson, 24, earned his first trip to the Masters by winning at Pebble Beach, his second PGA Tour victory.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend