Rory McIlroy knows exactly what he wants to achieve in his career. Credit: golffile.ieDarren Clarke texted Rory McIlroy before the final round and told him: “Go out and show them how good you are.”

But fellow major winners Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell believe that McIlroy had been showing the world exactly how talented he was for years and expect him to continue for years to come.

While they were exhausted by their first major wins, they reckon McIlroy will take it in his stride and use his Congressional procession as a springboard to future glory.

Padraig Harrington. Credit: golffile.ieAsked how McIlroy would deal with the increased expectations, Harrington said: “He’s in a slightly different situation to me.  He’s 22 years of age and this is indeed his destiny.  So I think he’s well prepared for it.

“I think he’s got very good balance in his life, so I don’t think this is going to be too earth shattering for him.”

Tipped for greatness since he was a child, McIlroy has dealt brilliantly with his near misses in the Open, the US PGA and the Masters over the past 11 months.

But now that he has finally broken through, Harrington expects him to find winning majors far easier.

The Dubliner said: “He’s a player with tremendous potential, and winning fulfills that potential and makes it easier to keep going.  

“I think Rory has set himself apart now in potential.  Other guys have been in contention and failed to win majors.  

“But Rory lapped the field and winning the US Open will make it easier going forward.”

McDowell was at the 18th green to congratulate McIlroy on his win, telling him: “You’re a legend.”

And while he wanted to retain the title, he knew before the final round that he had no chance of overhauling his Ryder Cup partner.

Graeme McDowell sees a great future for Rory McIlroy. Credit: golffile.ieMcDowell said: “He quite simply blew us all away.

“My hat’s off to Rory this week.  It’s been waiting to happen.  He’s been this good for a long time, and it’s great to see him, like I say, fulfill his potential.  He’s an awesome player.”

McDowell has been saying for several years that his best chance of winning majors over the next few seasons is to hang on to McIlroy’s coat-tails.

He said: “Nothing this kid does ever surprises me.  He’s the best player I’ve ever seen.  I didn’t have a chance to play with Tiger when he was in his real pomp, and this guy is the best I’ve ever seen, simple as that.  

“He’s great for golf.  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.

“He’s the best driver of the golf ball I’ve ever seen.  His iron play is aggressive.  He’s got a great ball flight and he’s got a great touch around the greens.  

Rory McIlroy watches his putt on the first green in the third round of the US Open. Credit:“His putting has been the only question mark and his little bit of perhaps, how do you call it, lack of being able to close to this point.  

“Those are the only two parts of his game that have been in question.  He’s putting all the question marks to rest this week, and like I say, he’s a great player.”

McDowell’s US Open win last year and Harrington’s three major victories were celebrated all over the island.

And McDowell believes that McIlroy’s win will continue to unite the communities north and south of the border.

He said: “Ireland is a very small place.  People love their golf in Ireland, they’re very proud of their golfers in Ireland, and we continue to produce great players.  

“Through the years  what Harrington did a few years back, people just couldn’t believe it.  And for me to win the U.S. Open last year was just met with an unbelievable reception, and now we’ve got the US Open trophy coming back to Northern Ireland again.

“Golf is a sport in Ireland which crosses the border.  All the trouble we’ve had there the last three, four decades, golf and sport really bridges that gap.  

“People north and south of the border in Ireland are really proud of what golfers are doing, and we’re so proud of our golfers back home.  

“This is going to be big.  People are really going to stand up and notice.  This kid has been knocking on the door for a long time, and he really is the real deal, so it’s exciting.”