SANDWICH, England --- Rory McIlroy slipped into his seat without great fanfare Tuesday, his presence detected by a sudden burst of camera shutters when the photographers realized the star of this British Open had arrived.
It was his first time at a news conference since that Sunday at Congressional, and it all looked familiar except that the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland no longer had the shiny U.S. Open trophy at his side.
In its place were expectations of many more majors to follow, perhaps starting with this one.
With a record-setting performance in the major billed as golf's toughest test, McIlroy has emerged as the favorite to join an elite group of players to capture the U.S. Open and British Open in the same year.
McIlroy knew it was quite an achievement, setting scoring records at the U.S. Open and winning by eight shots. Only in the three weeks he has spent at home has the magnitude started to sink in.
"I didn't realize how much of a fuss it would create or how much of a buzz," he said. "It's been nice. I thought it was great for me to win the U.S. Open, win my first major. The support that I've had from people back home, from everyone all over the world, has been pretty overwhelming."
It was impossible to miss on Tuesday. It almost felt as though Tiger Woods were at the Open, still on top of his game.
There were more media in the room waiting for McIlroy than those who actually listened to Luke Donald, who is No. 1 in the world and coming off a four-shot win in the Scottish Open.
This is the new world of McIlroy. And he says he's ready for it.
"This is what I've always wanted to do," McIlroy said. "I've always wanted to be a successful golfer and be one of the best players in the world and to win major championships. If I have to put up with a few things along the way, then I'm fine with that."
McIlroy hasn't played since he won the U.S. Open.
He still only has one major, the same number as Trevor Immelman, although so much more is expected of him.
He is thriving in the spotlight.
"I'm the sort of person that likes to have people watching," McIlroy said. "I like to have a little bit of a buzz in the atmosphere around the group, and I'll enjoy it. It's not going to be the first time that I've played in front of big crowds. Last time I played a competitive round of golf, I had a pretty big crowd following me."