Rory McIlroy has promised to be back for more after a dramatic Masters at Augusta when fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell emerged as the leading Irish and European player at the tournament.
McIlroy was six under for the final 10 holes on Sunday as he finished two under and 10 shots off the pace set by eventual winner Angel Cabrera.
It was a sensational week for the teenager from Bangor, who faced disqualification on Friday after he kicked the sand in the bunker at the 18th, then produced that whirlwind finish on Sunday.
“It was a lovely way to end the week, six-under for the last 10 holes was pretty nice,” said the 19-year-old. “Overall I haven’t played as well as I would have wanted but it is a pretty respectable finish. It has been a great week.
“It has been a good first Masters for me but I was hoping to do a little better and hopefully I can do better in the final three Majors of the year.
“I have got to know the course so much better and when I come back next year I will know it. I have also learned not to dance in the bunker!”
South African legend Gary Player, who played his final Masters last weekend, earmarked McIlroy for greatness after the event.
“Rory McIlroy, if he goes about it and is managed correctly, could turn out to be the best player in the world in his time,” Player told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek program.
“This young man is brilliant. His golf swing is unbelievable and his theory side, his swing, is better than Tiger Woods. But will he have the body of Tiger Woods?
“Will this young man go to the gym at six o’clock in the morning? I don’t know. Will he have the intensity and all the other things that Tiger has? I don’t know.
“He’s an incredible talent and has excelled already at a very young age. I believe he’s a very nice young man too and I hope he goes from strength to strength.”
Padraig Harrington saw his Paddy Slam hopes of a third straight major effectively disappear with a nine at the second hole on Saturday, but he too was philosophical.
“These things happen in the game, you can’t do much about it,” said Harrington. “Obviously my chances went on the second. It wasn’t to be and that’s the nature of the game; my game any way.
“I don’t really have a sense of disappointment. It’s a so be it sort of thing. I would not in any way suggest I have full control over my destiny.
“You can’t demand you are going to beat all these guys every week. There are few in the game who have. I don’t think that, I know that, I understand that. It doesn’t always happen and I’ve never got caught up in the hype.
“I’ll keep doing the same things, stay patient, build up to the U.S. Open and try to get the game in shape. I would like to have driven the ball better, but I’m really gutted with how I chipped. I’m really not happy about that, you can’t afford to give shots away.
“I had three easy ones I made a dog’s dinner of.”