Here’s SI’s Really Cool Cover
By Stephanie Wei under US Open

You’ve probably already seen this by now, but I’m posting it for posterity. Great shot by SI’s Fred Vuich of Rory McIlroy teeing off No. 10 on Sunday at Congressional. Since McIlroy’s impressive eight-stroke victory, much of the media, including SI, is calling it the beginning to “Golf’s New Era.” Unlike most fresh faces that we’ve prematurely crowned, I think Rory is the real deal. I’ve thought so probably since I watched him hit a golf shot in real life at the ’09 US Open at Bethpage.

McIlroy is much wiser than his 22 years. Just look at the way he handled the Masters meltdown, he won the next major in commanding style! I don’t think he’ll have a problem dealing with the pressure of being the heir apparent to Tiger Woods. He doesn’t, either, according to the AP. (If we’ve learned anything from the US Open, it’s that McIlroy speaks the truth.)

“With success comes expectation, and I know the expectation on me is going to be pretty high,” McIlroy told Sky Sports TV on Wednesday. “I expect big things from myself, but as long as I can keep the commitment and dedication and put the hard work in, I don’t see why there’s any reason not to handle it OK.”

McIlroy won the U.S. Open by an eight-shot margin, reviving memories of Woods’ first major title – a 12-shot victory at the Masters in 1997 at age 21.

Considering McIlroy had previously won just two tournaments in his professional career, it was a surprise how easily he handled the course and field over four days.

“Last week was fantastic, incredible,” he said. “The golf I played, I’d never played before in my life. I just hope I can keep it going.

Just keep that putting stroke going and he’ll be fine.

If you aren’t sick of Rory-mania yet, here’s the link to a podcast I recorded on Monday morning with Slate.