Rory McIlroy didn’t embrace his US Open win like a man fulfilling his lifetime dream.
He was far more calm about it than those around him and made it perfectly clear that with the major monkey now off his back, the way is clear to start tearing golf apart like King Kong.
He might be the new world No 4 on paper but he’s No 1 when it comes to his game and his ambitions and not even the hundreds of millions he will earn over the next 20 years will stop him dreaming big.
Believing the US Open is just a taste of massive things to come, McIlroy said: “I got my first Major Championship out of the way quite early on in my career, especially after what’s happened the last couple of months and it feels great.
“Hopefully in the not so distant future I’ll be able to call myself a multiple major champion.”
In other words: Now that I’ve got one, the questions about my Masters meltdown will stop. Watch out folks!
Comparisons are already being made with Tiger Woods and even Padraig Harrington has suggested that McIlroy could be the man to break Jack Nicklaus’ major records.
Yet while most 22 year old would be bowled over by the pressure of such high expectations, McIlroy has been putting pressure on himself to win multiple majors since he was a child.
Advised by Nicklaus to pressure on himself to win big, McIlroy said: “I know I was a very cocky kid back then when I was 14 years old. As you mature and you mellow, you learn a few things.
“It is almost as if you are told not to be that way but I felt as if I needed to be a little bit more cocky and put a bit more pressure on myself to win because I felt as if I had the ability.
“That’s basically what Jack said to me. You have got to put pressure on yourself because if you don’t put pressure on yourself then no-one else does.”
He’s sensible enough to know that there will only be one Tiger Woods.
But that doesn’t mean that he can’t try to win more than 14 majors and he confessed that he’d love the chance to take on Woods down the stretch some day.
Tackling the Tiger talk, he said: “I’d love to be dominant. Tiger has been the biggest thing for the game of golf ever, winning his 14 majors in such a short space of time.
“Maybe I can emulate a little bit of his success. I don’t think I can be as big for the game as he is or certainly was for the last 15 years.
“When I was growing up, I always had putts to win Tiger Woods in the Masters or the US Open.
“So it would be great to be able to get in contention one day, whether it be a Major or just a regular event and go down the stretch with him because I’ve never really had that experience before.”
Money is not what drives McIlroy - he’s already earned more than €11 million and could earn multiples of that amount over the next 20 years.
Industry experts believe he can earn more than €100m in his career as golf’s new clean-cut hero but his manager is in no hurry.
ISM’S Chubby Chandler revealed that four of McIlroy’s sponsorship contracts contained bonus clauses for winning a major.
His backers have already invested heavily in his potential and many of those deals do not expire for another two years.
Some offers have already been turned down and while a logo free clothing contract is a possibility over the next few years, Chandler says it is a gradual process.
Hailing McIlroy as the new fact of the game, Chandler said: “There’s not an awful lot will happen straight away.
“I think he’s a pretty good figurehead for the game right now with a load of good young players coming behind him. He’s like Seve, but straighter!
“I think he’s going to be pretty much popular worldwide. Seve was Spanish but he wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Rory’s Irish but everybody takes to him. He is Irish, he’s Northern Irish and they love him everywhere.”