Ready or not McIlroy and Spieth are golf's hottest rivalry

Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:02pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Washington (Reuters) - It was Fathers Day on Sunday but the kids were in charge at Chambers Bay as Jordan Spieth won a U.S. Open that put all four majors in the hands of golf's young guns, signaling a changing of the guard is complete.

By the time 21-year-old Spieth was celebrating under a gorgeous Puget Sound sunset, Tiger Woods had long ago left the scene having missed the cut while Phil Mickelson, six times a runner-up at the U.S. Open, finished well down the leaderboard in a tie for 64th alongside a few other of golf's golden oldies like Angel Cabrera and Colin Montgomerie.

With 26-year-old Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy in possession of the British Open and PGA Championship, Spieth holding the U.S. Open and Masters titles and Rickie Fowler (26) winning golf's unofficial fifth major the Players Championship, the sport has taken on an undeniable youthful vibe as the greats who dominated the game for two decades fade into the background.

At Chambers Bay Woods, Mickelson and Ernie Els proved they can still attract a crowd but those fans appeared more interested in a trip down memory lane than the huge galleries packed with young men and women following Spieth and McIlroy.

McIlroy thrilled the Sunday throng with an early morning charge up the leaderboard before Spieth took over the spotlight scrapping to a one shot win over Dustin Johnson to become just the sixth golfer to win both the Masters and U.S. Open titles in the same year.

"It's kind of cool. I think to have two players hold the four majors and Ricky having the fifth," smiled Spieth. "It's awesome that the game is in young hands.

"I don't think much of a rivalry.

"Rory has four majors and dozens of wins and I'm just starting out.   Continued...

Jun 21, 2015; University Place, WA, USA; Jordan Spieth hoists the U.S. Open Championship Trophy after winning the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports